The expert in the law replied, "The one who had mercy on him."
Jesus told him, "Go and do likewise."
When Bob and Mary retired to a small town forty minutes away from the one they lived and worked in for decades, driving the interstate was still a breeze. They saw no need to switch their doctors, dentist, or even Mary's hairdresser to the new locale. Besides, there was a grand farmers' market near their former residence which they visited every other week.
All went swimmingly until they were nearing their eighties. That's when Bob began showing signs of forgetfulness. Both Mary and he denied it as long as was possible, but the truth, as it inevitably does, won out. A visit to the neurologist confirmed that Bob was in the moderate stages of Alzheimer's. Medication was prescribed as was a regiment of mental exercises in hopes these would slow the disease's progression.
Throughout this time, Bob continued to drive the route that the years had made so familiar to him. With Mary at his side, there was the comfort of knowing she was as well-acquainted with it as he. It simply presented no reason for concern.
Then, it happened.
Mary's hairdresser changed salons. She was still in the general area, but not at the same address. Mary had the name of the business and knew where the street was, so she felt confident that, if they stuck to the same route they always took, they would find it. What she didn't count on was Bob taking a wrong exit off the interstate.
Disoriented by the unfamiliar territory, Bob drove to the nearest convenience store to seek directions. He approached a man in his mid-forties, attired in a uniform which indicated he worked in some capacity for the county. Mary couldn't hear the exchange, but read all too well the look of confusion and frustration on her husband's face. Within moments, Bob and the man approached the passenger side of the car. Mary rolled down the window.
"Your husband here thinks he'd be better off if I gave directions to you," he said with a friendly smile.
The man began telling Mary how to reach their destination. Upon seeing the growing worry in her eyes, he changed tactics altogether.
"My car is right over there," he said, pointing. "I know exactly where this salon is. I'd be more than happy to drive and have you follow me."
"Oh, we couldn't possibly impose on you like that!" Mary protested.
"No imposition at all, ma'am. It's my pleasure."
With that, he turned and walked briskly to his car. Bob climbed back into the driver's seat and cranked the engine. In seconds, they were trailing their trusty guide down one winding road after another. Both realized how hopelessly lost they would have been without the intervention of this Good Samaritan.
Bob and Mary arrived safely at the hair salon and, gratefully, in territory they recognized. They thanked the man profusely, but when Bob reached for his wallet to pay the man for his trouble, their Samaritan held up his hand and shook his head.
"Put it back, put it back," he said with a broad smile and a wink. He pointed heavenward.
"He knows what happened here. That's all that matters."
In what ways have you shown mercy to others in your Christian walk? How have others shown mercy to you?
Will you pray with me?
Thank you, Lord, for Good Samaritans, doing the work of angels here on earth. Help us always to show mercy and kindness to our fellow travelers. Place opportunities in our paths were we can lend a hand to those in need. May all our deeds be done in love. Amen.
Psalms 63:1-8 (9-11), 98 or 103
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