I salute the many good Samaritans in our community.
From the Gospel of Luke in the Bible we read of a certain lawyer who tempted Jesus Christ, saying “what shall I do to inherit eternal life?”
Jesus replied by asking, “what is written in the Law?” The Lawyer answered “thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength and with all thy mind; and thy neighbor as thy self.”
Jesus confirmed the lawyer was correct and affirmed the necessity of doing as the Law stated.
But the lawyer, seeking to justify himself, asked a question that has echoed through all generations of Christians: “Who is my neighbor?”
The answer was given through the now well-known parable, the story of the Good Samaritan.
This parable teaches us that we should consider all of mankind, no matter what they look like or believe, to be our neighbors.
There are many good Samaritans in our community that I could recite, and many individuals I could recognize. Time and space permits me to mention only two examples, which can serve to illustrate the heroics of many others in our community.
Eleven years ago my wife, Lynette, and I were in serious automobile accident that temporarily disabled both of us. With eight children to care for at that time, many came to our aid. One of them was our employer, Bart Nelson and his family, who continued compensation while I was not working, visited us, provided transportation and other things to assist our recovery. Above all, they expressed genuine concern and interest in our recovery. Over the years I have observed them quietly repeat this pattern of service and aid to many others who have been in need.
A second example is of a man who gives in a different, yet equally as important way. Norbert Rossi has a unique ability to build confidence, happiness, vocal skills and cooperation in choral music students at Walla Walla High School. In his classes, students look forward to being in a place where, regardless of their circumstances, they know and feel that he believes in them and is genuinely interested in their success and happiness. His students’ achievements rise beyond that of increased vocal talent as they witness the skill of one who knows how to build people and relationships.
As we witness the many kind acts of those around us, let us remember the final words spoken to the Lawyer by Jesus Christ concerning the parable of the Good Samaritan.
Jesus asked, “Which now of these three, thinkest thou, was neighbor unto him that fell among the thieves?”
The Lawyer’s answer was, “He that shewed mercy on him,” and to that, Jesus replied, “Go and do likewise.”
Coming to the aid of another human being in need requires no prerequisites, no special skills and no special education or knowledge.
Neither does it require that we possess great amounts of money.
All that is required is our willingness to show kindness, to give of our time and to try our best to look beyond ourselves.
In this we find happiness and the meaning of the words Jesus Christ said concerning the greatest commandment: “This do, and thou shalt live.”
John Rowley is president of the Walla Walla Stake of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Pastors in the U-B circulation area who want to write a column should contact Catherine Hicks at 509-526-8312, or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org