Author mug

On Faith

Bill Stonebraker

Saturday, August 11, 2001

Open heart to God to
be good neighbor

I once read a story about a young man named Bob whose brother gave him a brand-new car. Bob closed his office early, and as he got into his new car to go home, he noticed a street kid admiring it.

"Is this your car?" the boy asked.

Bob said, "Yep, my brother gave it to me as a gift."

"A gift," the boy said. "It didn't cost you anything?"

"Not one cent," Bob answered. "He gave it to me for nothing."

The street kid said, "Boy, I wish I ..."

As he spoke, Bob thought, "I know what he's going to say: 'I wish I had a brother like that!'"

But instead the boy Bob exclaimed, "I wish I could be a brother like that!"

It so amazed Bob that he invited the boy to go for a ride around the block. As they rode along, the boy said, "My house is right there; could you stop a minute in front?"

He jumped out of the car and ran up the stairs. Bob thought, "He probably wants to show off in front of his family." But the boy came down the stairs carrying his little invalid brother, saying, "See, Johnny? What I told you was true! His brother gave him that car. And one day I'm going to get you a car just like that, and we're going to go driving around and see all the stuff I've been telling you about!"

Bob said for years afterward that the best present he ever got was not that car, but that boy and the touching example of his response, "I wish that I could be a brother like that!"

That's the point of the parable of the good Samaritan. Told by Jesus in Luke 10:29, it is the familiar story of a man who felt compassion for an injured stranger he found alongside the road, bandaged his wounds and took the victim to an inn where he paid for his care.

Even for people who have never read the story, the title "good Samaritan" evokes the very model of neighbor and the personification of Jesus' commandment, "Love your neighbor as yourself."

Like the lawyer to whom Jesus told the parable, we can recognize that the one who showed mercy was the man's neighbor. Jesus told the lawyer, "Go and do the same."

Jesus is telling us this story to help us understand how much we need His love in order to follow His command. We need God's love to fill us to overflowing so we can be that kind of neighbor and that kind of brother. We can't do it on our own. Like the priest or the Levite in the story, we would pass by on the other side of the road.

One individual cannot meet the needs of an entire community. But when God puts someone in our path, and we know they have a need that God enabled us to meet, let's not miss the opportunity to be the good Samaritan.

Bill Stonebraker is pastor of Calvary Chapel of Honolulu.


E-mail to Features Editor

Text Site Directory:
[News] [Business] [Features] [Sports] [Editorial] [Do It Electric!]
[Classified Ads] [Search] [Subscribe] [Info] [Letter to Editor]

© 2001 Honolulu Star-Bulletin