By Dr. James L. Snyder
Have you ever had the feeling that any good deed you try is counteracted by a good swift kick in the pants?
Last week a friend phoned, asking me if I could help a friend of his who was moving from Florida to Virginia and had nobody to help him. Immediately I agreed to help all I could. After hanging up my phone, I wondered what I had gotten myself into.
I told him to have this person call me. I figured if he doesn’t call, I wouldn’t have to help. No sooner had this thought rambled through the little gray cells, then the telephone rang. It was this person requesting my assistance.
On Sunday morning, an hour before services, this person showed up at church. He introduced himself and we got acquainted.
“All I have,” he assured me, “are 25 boxes of books that I need to take to the post office so I can mail them to where I am going.”
Well, I mused, this may not be as bad as I thought.
On awakening Monday morning, I was trying to think of some way to graciously bow out of the whole mess.
I have a problem pronouncing the word “no.” I’m thinking of consulting a speech therapist to help me.
My watch told me I was running a little late. I wish my watch would tell me how to get out of such predicaments. But when I inquired, it didn’t give a tick. Then an idea burst in my noggin. If he said anything about me being late I will get mad, turn around and go home. Or, if he wasn’t ready to move the boxes when I got there, I would, in a huff, turn around and stomp off and go home.
It’s been such a long time since I got mad or angry that I wasn’t confident of my plan. But, I reasoned to myself, it’s worth a try.
I found myself running about 45 minutes late. I was grinning to myself, thinking this would be enough to make him say something about my tardiness.
I had the auspicious job of lifting every box from the truck up on to the dolly on the dock, several feet over my head.
I was wondering while working, just why he asked for help. Really, this was not a two-man job. He could have done this quite nicely all by himself.
Then the real reason slipped out from under a nearby rock where it had been hiding.
“The school where I will be teaching,” he began, “will reimburse me for all my expenses in moving. But ...” I was now ready for the rest of the story. “But, I am a little short on cash and was wondering if you could help me? I’ll be glad to send the money back to you.”
Then I got mad.
I thought he wanted a hand up when in reality he wanted a hand out.
Driving home I was reminded of what the Bible said, “And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not. As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith.” (Galatians 6:9-10).
I remembered what someone told me once. Nobody can take advantage of a Good Samaritan.