The Okay Samaritan

 | September 16, 2008 3:43 PM

Almost everyone knows the Parable of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10:25-37).  Our church, GrX, is currently doing a sermon series called Transformission and the whole series will be about this parable.

In the first sermon, The Call of Mercy, Pastor David Chae said he thought of having someone lie outside on the way to church just to see how many people would stop to help.  I told Ji Seon I don’t know if I would have stopped and Ji Seon said she thought I would.  I do think of the Good Samaritan though, specificially the priest and the Levite, when I drive by people stopped on the freeway.

After service I asked one of my friends if he would have stopped and he said “Yeah, I would have stopped.  I stop for people all the time.”  When I asked him a little more about it he said he doesn’t stop for people that will probably be helped soon, like people on the freeway, but he stops for people stuck in more deserted areas, like in the mountains on the way to Tahoe.

This past Saturday, September 16 we were late for lunch at the Fung’s place.  As we drove up the exit ramp from 101 to Montague Highway.  I saw a car with two women sitting on it.  As I passed by I read the sign which said “Need a push.”  I thought of the sermon, stopped the minivan and walked over to the two women to see what happened.

It turns out they had run out of gas and wanted a push up to the top of the bridge.  From there they planned to coast down to the gas station at the bottom of the bridge.  I thought to myself “There is no way I and one woman will be able to push this car while the other one steers.” but I didn’t say anything.  We started pushing the car and we made a little bit of progress.  But then the car would start rolling back, I think because the other woman I think was losing strength.

During this whole time I was thinking “That Dave Chae, why’d he have to preach about helping our neighbors.” and “God, you’d better be happy with me.”  And when the car was rolling back I thought “Wouldn’t that suck, being running over, having my legs crushed, because I stopped to help someone.”

Finally I said to the woman that we are not going to be able to push this car to the top of the bridge.  She then suggested I move my minivan behind her car and push it that way.  At this point I started thinking “Boy, you’d ask for anything.”  I then suggested “Why don’t I drive you to the gas station and you get some gas and bring it back.”  She then replied “I don’t want to buy a gas can.”  Getting a little more annoyed I said “Well, the gas can is only going to cost like $5.”

At this point I was getting the sense of the relationship of the two women.  The one pushing was the mother and the one steering was the daughter.  They were black and the mother was really annoyed at the daughter, swearing at her and saying she wanted to kill her.

I finally convinced the mother to go with me to the gas station and she was about to get into our minivan when two other guys walked up.  She asked them for help and together we all managed to push the car up the bridge.

Once the car started coasting down the hill I turned it around and ran back to the minivan (I figured it’s not safe leaving a minivan parked on an exit ramp) and then we drove off.

I thought of how a Good Samaritan would not have been annoyed with the people he was helping, how he would have made sure they got to the gas station okay, that he would have offered them money for the gas.  But in the end I’m not a Good Samaritan, I’m at best the Okay Samaritan.

The next day after my Okay Samaritan incident Pastor David Chae made an interesting point in his sermon, The Necessity of Mercy.  He said that we help people with felt needs, not people who are needy.  I would classify the people I helped that day as needy.  They could have easily walked to the gas station but instead they preferred sitting on their car waiting thirty minutes for someone to push them so they didn’t have to buy a gas can.  They wanted to be helped instead of helping themselves.

2 Responses to “The Okay Samaritan”

Mark R. wrote a comment on September 16, 2008

man, i would not have stopped for them. if i saw them tomorrow, i still would not. ugh.

Carl wrote a comment on September 20, 2008

This reminds me of my teenage years, when I ran out of gas on the highway. I was with two friends. We managed to coast off the highway to a side-road. My two friends pushed the car up a hill. The other side which was very steep down-hill to a gas station at the bottom. I left them in my dust when going down-hill, got to the gas station and put $3 gas into the car (that’s all I had). I then drove back, picked them up and dropped them home.

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