Just then a Church member stood up with a question to test Jesus. “Teacher, what do I need to do to get eternal life?”
He answered, “What’s written in God’s Law? How do you interpret it?”
He said, “That you love the Lord your God with all your passion and prayer and muscle and intelligence—and that you love your neighbor as well as you do yourself.”
“Good answer!” said Jesus. “Do it and you’ll live.”
But the Church member wanted to justify himself. After all, he only loved those who were of the same social and racial status as him. They were family members and those who went to dressed nicely in Church. But not the homeless man on the highway, not the Hindu teenagers playing loud music down the street, not the smoking surly man who you see yelling at his kids, and certainly not the homosexual couple living next door. That would never happen. So he asked, “and how would you define ‘neighbor’?
Jesus answered by telling a parable. “There was once a man driving from Scarborough to North York. However, this was on the coldest day of the year and a weather alert was in effect. The dreaded winter unsuspectingly seized his car, leaving his car stuck dead in the middle of a crosswalk. He called the CAA but a tow truck was 3 hours away, leaving him with a half-dead phone, a dwindling heat supply, and a congo-line of angry motorists honking to get off the road.
A police officer happened to be going down the same road, and when he saw the man, he simply yelled, “make sure you call a tow-truck!” before passing by on the other side. Next, a Pastor was called up but he said, “Sorry, today’s my day off”. After an hour, a Christian friend drove by, but when the booster cables would not work, he too passed by the other side. “I have to get back to work” was his hasty response. But a scruffy old Canadian looking like Jack Nicholson, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him.
The Canadian went to him and said, “I just helped my daughter booster her car and I couldn’t help but see you stuck out there, why don’t you come into my house and read a book?” The man was shocked but quickly agreed. Then the Canadian helped push the car out of harms way, let the man stay for as long as he needed (~2 hours), warmed up a fire, and tried to fix the car before finally giving in to the tow-truck. And this Canadian was a divorced pagan bar-owner.
“What do you think? Which of the four became a neighbor to the man who was stuck in the cold?”
“the one who treated him kindly,” the Church member responded.
Jesus said, “Go, and do the same”.
Above is a true parable (with a few events exaggerated, like the bit about the Pastor) which happened to me when my ’98 Civic died on the way to work this week. I was so surprised someone would let a male stranger into their home unattended for several hours even though their girlfriend was sleeping upstairs and they had their own business to do. God’s providence was all over the place, from breaking down near my mechanics shop/residential area, not driving on my normal finch route (which would of been a steep hill blocking a major intersection), and not having a crisis on the first day of work/school. As I sat there amazed, I believe God gave me the idea to transform it into that parable.
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