“Which of these . . . was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?”
It was September 21, 1967, in Makurdi, Nigeria. The news was indeed terrible. During the night violence had erupted downtown. Shops were looted, homes were destroyed, and a hundred people of the Igbo tribe were slaughtered.
Included in the group on our steps was a young Igbo man who took care of our yard. I can still see his eyes, wide with fear. It was his tribe, his people, that were being killed. He was in danger. We needed to do something to protect him. But what?
Our young Tiv steward became the neighbor that Jesus calls us to be. Compassion and concern overruled his fear as he offered a suggestion: “I know a path through the field that leads to the rail station. I think I can get him there safely.”
We could think of no better option. Our Igbo friend quickly gathered his goods and prepared himself to go. We gathered again on our steps for a prayerful goodbye. And then off they went—the two of them together.
We hurt deeply for our young Igbo friend. But our young steward showed us what it means to be a neighbor—crossing tribal lines and status boundaries. Jesus says, “Go and do likewise.”
Lord, thank you for the “good Samaritans” in our lives. Move us to be true neighbors. Amen.