A Samaritan, who was on a journey, came to where the man was. But when he saw him, he was moved with compassion. The Samaritan went to him and bandaged his wounds, tending them with oil and wine. Then he placed the wounded man on his own donkey, took him to an inn, and took care of him. The next day, he took two full days’ worth of wages and gave them to the innkeeper. He said, ‘Take care of him, and when I return, I will pay you back for any additional costs’ (Luke 10:33-35, Common English Bible).
This is part 18 in the November Thanksgiving series, “Pass the…” for a listing on the other posts please see the index.
In the last few years tea (both hot tea and iced tea) has become about my favorite thing to drink. I rarely drink anything except water or tea. About four years ago I drank diet sodas, a lot of diet sodas. Cindy and I would refer to it as “my fizzy coffee.” I would start drinking them first thing in the morning and would drink them well into the night. Having four to six a day was nothing unusual.
One day I left them behind. I will still drink one on a rare occasion though I am not very sure why. Diet sodas are an acquired taste. You have to drink them for about a week to get used to them for them to actually start to taste good. Since I stopped drinking them, when I do pick one up on occasion, I am no longer used to the taste, and they are nasty. Since I have no interest in drinking them regularly, they continue to taste bad.
To replace all the sodas I drank, I went back to a couple of things that are more old school, tea and water. I try really hard to get in at least 100 ounces of water per day. I also drink a lot of tea, particularly iced tea.
Around our Thanksgiving table I would challenge you to let the iced tea, because it is old school remind you of something else that is kind of old school to, and unfortunately, it seems to be disappearing from our society, compassion.
I remember a night when I was in the Navy. I had been to Virginia Beach with my good buddies Alan and Butch (if it wasn’t with them I have no idea who it was as I can’t imagine anyone else with whom I would have been out). As we were headed back to the ship we came up on a car accident. Though we had no idea who was involved, we stopped to help. I don’t say this to brag on myself or my buddies. It was just something we did without thinking about it.
Today, people seem more likely to run away from a car accident than they are to stop and help. Rare is the day I don’t hear about a hit and run accident on the radio, on the evening news or read about it in the paper. As I talk to people I hear even more stories that are similar.
What has happened to us? I read posts on Facebook and people attack each other over some of the smallest things. I have seen attacks on religion, race, immigration status, political perspectives and so much more. If someone thinks differently from us, it seems to give license to go on the attack.
I know some will think I am writing this about the Presidential election. And yes, this was absolutely present during the election, but it is more than that. It has been happening for years. In one episode of the popular television show, The Big Bang Theory, Raj says, “I’m so tired of people being mean on the internet.” The discussion among the group goes on to arrive at the idea that anonymity allows people to go on the attack when they would never do so face to face.
It could be because of the internet but I really think there is more to it than that. I think it is something much more basic. I believe it is the sin that is part of our lives. I think we are seeing more sin around us than ever before as more and more people are neglecting their relationship with God in favor of something that lacks any real depth, themselves. We are far more interested in what is best for me and that I don’t need to worry about anyone else.
I guess I am just old school enough that I can remember compassion in the world around us. And, at times, particularly times of tragedy, we will see glimmers of times past, where people put themselves aside in favor of compassion and what others need, but it is far from common.
I appreciate those old school values. One of my favorite stories in the Bible is Jesus’ “Parable of the Good Samaritan.” In Jesus’ story we have a man who had every reason in the world to walk away. The man in the road was a Jew. He was a Samaritan and Samaritans and Jews didn’t get along at all. The Jew in the road had done nothing for this Samaritan, yet the Samaritan went above and beyond what was necessary. The Scriptures say he had compassion on the Jew.
The who idea of compassion, for me, is really in what Jesus responded as the most important commandment. Compassion is explicit when we love our neighbor as ourselves. And, when we love our neighbor, we are also showing our love for God. That would mean when we show compassion to a neighbor, we are also showing compassion to God.
The iced-tea reminds me of the old school value of compassion. It is rare these days but just as I am thankful to see a pitcher of tea on the table, I am also thankful when I see compassion still alive in the world around us.
So please, someone pass me the tea.
Have a blessed day in the Lord.
Grace and Peace,
Copyright 2016, J. Keith Broyles, All Rights Reserved