Years ago Gordon MacDonald flew to city to speak at a conference. Near the city centre, his taxi stopped at a red light. he noticed a homeless man lurching between the cars in the middle of the street. [He writes:] When he got to the front of my taxi, he fell and landed on his chin. His chin split open, and there was blood all over the place.
As I looked at this man six feet away, … and these thoughts went through my head:
- I have a brand-new suit on that Gail just bought me. I can’t afford to get messed up.
- I have to get to the conference to speak in fifteen minutes.
- I’m in a strange city, and I don’t know what to do.
- I don’t have any medical training. I wouldn’t know how to help.
[He writes:] I wonder if underneath there wasn’t a fifth thought: If you’re dumb enough to get that drunk, why should someone stop and help you?
For a few seconds those thoughts militated against any movement on my part. Before I could come to better senses, other people came rushing to this man’s help, and I was able to get back into my taxi and go on to the convention center to speak about sensitivity and caring for the needs of other human beings. Isn’t that stupid [he writes]?
—Gordon MacDonald, from the sermon “Pointing to Jesus: Generosity,” Grace Chapel, Lexington, Massachusetts (February 22, 1998)
How many times have we been in that kind of situation? Probably not too many—we don’t often see people in dire need come straight across our path, where we are the nearest person able to help, and if we don’t help them it appears as if no-one else will.
But instead of such an urgent situation where we are the nearest person, what about situations where no-one seems to be the nearest person, where the need is just as great but where it doesn’t fall on one individual in particular? What about the less ‘in-your-face’ ongoing needs of others? What about the people we pass every day, but because there isn’t blood on the street we don’t see the need as big enough for us to do something?
Who’s responsibility is it to care for others?
It is everyone’s. Especially those who love and serve the Lord God.
I’d like us to consider three reasons as to why we ought to love others, which will hopefully encourage us to do more than we can, to be more fulfilled in doing so, and give much glory to God.
We love others because they are in need, just like the Good Samaritan (Luke 10:25-37):
“Now which of these three would you say was a neighbor to the man who was attacked by bandits?” Jesus asked. The man replied, “The one who showed him mercy.” Then Jesus said, “Yes, now go and do the same.” (Luke 10:36–37, NLT)
We love others because that is what we are made for! Being fully human means being fully loving towards others:
“The man answered, “ ‘You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your strength, and all your mind.’ And, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ ” ” (Luke 10:27, NLT)
We love others so that they can see the love of God and turn to him:
“Dear friends, let us continue to love one another, for love comes from God. Anyone who loves is a child of God and knows God. But anyone who does not love does not know God, for God is love. God showed how much he loved us by sending his one and only Son into the world so that we might have eternal life through him. ” (1 John 4:7–9, NLT)
 Craig Brian Larson and Phyllis Ten Elshof, 1001 Illustrations That Connect (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House, 2008), 185.