Skip to main content

Jan_Wijnants_-_Parable_of_the_Good_SamaritanAs we rush around this week trying to get everything done so we can relax and enjoy ourselves, I’m always reminded of this story.

It was 10:02am on a Monday morning and with pen and notepad in hand, I was flat out running. There was about a football field’s length of parking lot between our main sanctuary and the church offices — and our staff meeting started at 10am.

About a month before, an older woman from the church had been telling me her concerns for her son who had recently been getting into some trouble with the law. She talked and I just listened before having to run to preach or sing or whatever I was doing that morning.

Fast forward back to the parking lot. As I get closer to the doors, I see her coming out. She sees me running and steps aside. For whatever reason, I decide to stop, turn around and spend 3-5 minutes asking her about her son and how he’s doing. Afterward, she thanked me for asking as I sped into the meeting 10 minutes late.

About a week later, I bumped into her after the church service and she stopped me.

“Pastor Jared, I just wanted to say thank you for being Jesus to me last week,” she started.

“What do you mean?” I asked.

“Well, you stopped to ask about my son when you were clearly on the way to something important. You know Jesus did almost all his ministering on the way to something important? He let people interrupt him on the way, which is what you did for me.”

It was a transformative few sentences for me. She was preaching to me and it hit home. What an insight.

We are often so “purpose-driven” that we miss vital opportunities to be Jesus in the interruptions.

We have stuffed our lives so full of activities that we don’t have the bandwidth to be with others “on the way.”

I’m sure the Good Samaritan wasn’t just on a leisurely stroll on the road, hoping to bump into someone to help. This Christmas season, may we find the courage to be interrupted on our way.

Pete Enns, Ph.D.

Peter Enns (Ph.D., Harvard University) is Abram S. Clemens professor of biblical studies at Eastern University in St. Davids, Pennsylvania. He has written numerous books, including The Bible Tells Me So, The Sin of Certainty, and How the Bible Actually Works. Tweets at @peteenns.