Are you perfect? Only Jesus can answer ‘yes’ to that question. Are you making a difference? Hopefully, a resounding ‘yes’ is ringing in the heart of every person reading this story. A Good Samaritan lives knowing they make a difference and rise up by lifting others. Who have you lifted lately?
The Biblical account of the Good Samaritan gives a Priest and Levite who might have asked themselves on that desolate road with a man in need begging for assistance… “What will happen to me if I stop to help?” Let someone else lift him up and help him.
The Good Samaritan surely asked, “What will happen to me if I do not stop to help?” Let me help my neighbor even though I do not know him for one day Jesus will say, “well done my good and faithful servant.
Good Samaritans are among us like unto angels to lift us in ways only God can orchestrate. He surely sent one recently to the Sonshine Kids and Learning Station teachers in a most unusual way.
With road construction blocking The Learning Station entrances on a hot, summer afternoon, frustration was rising inside like the July temperature was outside. Kids squirmed with books in hand and heads stretching like giraffes to see what was going on outside. Finally, we called the children two by two to stand by our glass door and watch the road crew hard at work. With squeals of delight and ‘look Ms. Becky’ echoing, we finally settled down for devotion.
That’s when the Good Samaritan made his unexpected entrance and said, ‘Hi, I’m Darryl from Pittsburgh, Pa.”
After proper introductions, he said , ‘the children got my attention and something told me to stop and come inside to talk with them about what we’re doing.”
Mr. Darryl told them why they are working on our road, explained about the machine he drives, shared when they would be finished and how awesome our highway would be! His northern accent blended beautifully with our southern twangs while our love for Jesus bound us in one accord. Even though we were strangers that morning, in God’s eyes we had been neighbors all along. After spending a few minutes together, there was no doubt that Mr. Darryl from Pittsburgh was a Christian gentleman who was a close friend with Jesus! To his delight, the children asked if they could pray with him when he announced he must get back to work. The next few minutes transformed into a treasure that still warms my heart. Children stretched their hands toward him and several begged to pray. Mr. Darryl chose three whose prayers pierced Heaven’s portals. I wiped tears while sending Brianna to our freezer for ice pops. It was a sight to see Sonshine Kids standing in the sunshine passing out ice pops to Mr. Darryl and his coworkers. The time he took from his work to teach God’s little children about frustrating road construction increased our faith and formed a bond of friendship that time cannot erase. We were unable to get out of our driveway to go on Sonshine visits that day, so God sent a Sonshine visitor to us!
Yet, the good Lord was not finished. A few days later, our new friend parked his big machine that cost almost a million dollars in the parking lot beside our playground. Illuminate kids and leaders were spending the day doing outreach ministry and were playing a quick game of kickball after lunch. When the ball soared over the fence, I rushed to retrieve it and saw Mr. Darryl walking toward the fence. The children begged him to play, so he kicked the ball and asked for a runner. Laughter filled the field where relationships were being nurtured and memories made. We made a huge circle on the playground and Mr. Darryl prayed. Then, he asked if the kids liked ice cream? He pulled his wallet and handed the child beside him a one hundred dollar bill. She squealed with delight; I wiped tears and later that day Illuminate and Sonshine Kids enjoyed ice cream. God was working in ways we could not see but felt in our hearts.
The next morning during devotion, we thanked Jesus for our new friend again and voted on what to do with the remaining gift he gave. I told the children to vote for getting ice cream two more times or giving the remaining money to the Joiner family who was grieving the loss of their precious little girl. Tears again filled my eyes as every child’s arm reached to the sky. We prayed for the family whose broken hearts will slowly but surely be mended by the Master.
A few days later, Mr. Darryl parked his machine and came by to tell the children good by. He was headed home for his grandson’s wedding and granddaughter’s graduation. We prayed with him and gave him gifts to carry each of them, an angel for his granddaughter and jar of prayers for his grandson and bride. Hugs and high fives followed, until finally Mr. Darryl from Pittsburgh stepped into the sunshine on his way home.
That’s when the icing on the cake blessing came that sweetly closes this story. Mrs. Diane handed me an envelope Mr. Darryl asked her to give me. The bank’s name was not familiar, the giver was a stranger only a few days earlier, but the seed gift inside showed the generosity and genuine friendship of a Good Samaritan I felt like I had known forever who made a difference in my life.
Mr. Darryl will leave our city soon and head to another place to pave roads and put smiles on people’s faces God puts in his path. Wiping tears and hoping to write the right ending, I believe God would say to each of us…’do not be afraid, reach out to lift people in need, be a Good Samaritan even to strangers I send that can become your friends, and know that close relationships with loved ones and me and making a difference matters most in the end.