As I was in transit, I came across a most intriguing site. Along the side of the expressway was a late model pickup truck. Apparently, there had been some sort of mechanical difficulty; and the owner had left it there to go for help. Now, at this point, I can only surmise what happened thereafter. Judge for yourself. This is what I saw.
A bright new candy-apple red pickup truck sat with its left side facing traffic. The left rear wheel (and tire) was noticeable in that it was not bright and shiny like the rest of the vehicle. It looked either to be the spare from underneath the vehicle, or else, one from some other vehicle. The left front wheel was missing altogether, forcing the vehicle’s front to sit low on the ground.
Added to this was the fact that the vehicle was missing both of its right side wheels. In fact, the right side of the vehicle was resting entirely on a jack of some sort, and had been lifted inordinately high in the air as a result. The whole effect gave the impression of an airplane in flight that was banking down and hard to the left in a sharp turn and a rapid decent.
Now that is what I saw. But this is what I surmised. To me, it seemed that perhaps the vehicle had experienced some sort of trouble that forced the driver to leave it on the side of the road in order to seek assistance.
Thereafter (perhaps), someone (or ones) had come along, jacked up the left rear, removed the wheel (and tire), and replaced it with an old spare. Thereafter (perhaps), they had then jacked up the left front and removed the wheel (and tire) entirely, before letting it back down to rest on the ground.
Then (perhaps), these same individuals went around to the right side and raised the truck in the middle of the chassis, before removing both the front and rear wheels (and tires). Thereafter (perhaps), attempting to get away as soon as possible, they then departed with four new wheels (and tires), leaving the vehicle hoisted atop the expendable jack.
Granted, this scenario is entirely hypothetical. (One might suppose I had been watching too many crime dramas on television.) The unfortunate driver could have had three or four simultaneous flat tires. Or he (or she) could have had three wheel bearings go out all at once. But my own supposition is just as plausible. After all, the theft of automotive parts (and entire vehicles) is big business in today’s world.
As I have reflected on this, I could not but help but remember the story Jesus told in the New Testament Gospel of Luke, chapter 10, verses 30-37:
“A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho when he fell into the hands of robbers. They stripped him, beat him, and went away, leaving him half dead.
31Now by chance a priest was going down the same road, but when he saw him, he passed by on the other side.
32So too, when a Levite came to that spot and saw him, he passed by on the other side.
33But when a Samaritan on a journey came upon him, he looked at him and had compassion. 34He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he put him on his own animal, brought him to an inn, and took care of him.
35The next day he took out two denariie and gave them to the innkeeper. ‘Take care of him,’ he said, ‘and on my return I will repay you for any additional expense.’
36Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?”
37“The one who showed him mercy,” replied the expert in the law.
Then Jesus told him, “Go and do likewise.”
Verse 30 says “They stripped him, beat him, and went away, leaving him half dead.” Obviously, the truck I encountered may well have gotten the same treatment. I can only hope the driver did not.
Of course, the rest of Jesus’ story focuses on the response of those who passed by – as well as how they each, in turn, responded. What is clear is that, one by one, they passed on by, likely rationalizing their reasons for doing so as they did.
Now before I proceed, let me acknowledge that I myself did not stop at the truck. I chose not to do so because a bright orange sticker had been placed on the window, just beside the driver’s side rear view mirror, clearly indicating that the authorities had already been there and were well on top of the situation.
But as I drove on, I had to ask myself what I would have done if there had been no such sticker, or if I had happened upon this scene on some lonesome country road as opposed to a busy interstate highway with scores of vehicles zipping by every minute. Or even worse, if there had been a person laying there by the side of the road, injured or otherwise incapacitated in some manner, and in need of assistance.
I like to think that I would have stopped. But I must confess that the irony of the moment did not escape me. Here I was, a Pastor (arguably a modern day Priest or Levite), busily making my way to an appointment in order to fulfill a religious obligation, all the while passing right on by the scene of someone’s obvious trouble.
The good news is that a day later, when I was returning from my obligation and going in the opposite direction, the truck was no longer there. Whatever the difficulty had been, it had apparently been resolved.
But the lesson has stayed with me. For I have come away from the whole experience with a heightened sensitivity to the circumstances of those whose paths I cross each day.
I pray that I will ever be sensitive to the plight of my fellow man. After all, the one individual we can all relate to in Jesus’ famed story of “The Good Samaritan” above is the poor man who fell into the hands of those who would do him harm!
For in truth, we were all waylaid and left for dead by old Satan. But praise God, when we were, God’s Son, Jesus Christ, took it upon Himself to come to our aid. As He has done for us, may we now commit to do for others in His name!
SCRIPTURE SOURCE: https://biblehub.com/bsb/luke/10.htm.