While Hurricane Harvey and Irma have received most of the headlines this month, another human interest story hasn’t gotten the attention it deserves. As Americans watched images of devastation, flooding and property loss from these storms, compassionate hearts have been compelled to act. Houston Texans defensive end J.J. Watts thought maybe he could raise some money using social media. More than thirty million dollars later, donations continue to pour in. Meanwhile, average citizens with boats, trailers and trucks have driven to Texas to aid in the search and rescue of stranded homeowners. Countless others have provided clothes, diapers and water for victims who have lost everything except their lives. In the face of adversity, these hurricanes have revived the American Spirit.
If either of them falls down, one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up, Ecclesiastes 4:10.
From a historical perspective, King Solomon is considered one of the wisest human beings to ever walk the face of the earth. In the passage above, Solomon points to the goal Israelites should strive to achieve. Human beings can be fragile, often in need of a social companion. Whether this is a classmate, co-worker or friend, life is easier when you have someone close to pick you up after a fall. Sometimes falling refers to a physical act, but others struggle with a lack of confidence, depression or insecurity. Based upon the context of Genesis 2, Adam spent a portion of his life searching for a suitable helper. Initially, Adam looked for companionship among animals, likely taking some home as pets. Yet, at some point these relationships didn’t suffice, eventually resulting in God creating Eve. The Lord in his infinite wisdom understood the power of one person helping another in need. Like the pay it forward movement, as one person demonstrates random acts of kindness, other good Samaritans are motivated to join in.
But a Samaritan, as he traveled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him, Luke 10:33.
In the parable of the Good Samaritan, Jesus uses an analogy to illustrate what happens every day. Sometimes people get into an accident, need help or are stranded along side of the road. The people that should come to the rescue like priests and religious people use a busy schedule as an excuse to continue on their way. The social outcast like the Samaritan ends up saving the day. One of the points Jesus is trying to make is which one are you? Are you going to remain on the sideline, failing to lend a helping hand to the countless who lost a home or family member? Or will the selfless response by J.J. Watt inspire you to abandon your own worries to reach out to someone less fortunate? Many the power of the Holy Spirit fall upon the volunteers in Florida and Texas to rediscover the American Spirit. Although there will be other natural disasters in the future, I pray that this kindred spirit of giving continues to impact the lives of individuals forced to start over from scratch. When communities love their neighbors as themselves, this world becomes a better place to live.
by Jay Mankus