The Good Samaritan
Pastor Tony Nester
Many of us have heard this story so many times it might be helpful to update it and put it into modern language. Here's a contemporary version of the parable.
A certain man went along down the road traveling from point-A-to-point-B. And as it happened he fell among some thieves who beat him terribly, then left him wounded and bleeding along the highway.
And by chance there came a charismatic Catholic and a reformed Jew walking along that way. And when they saw him, they passed by on the other side. Likewise, a bible-toting Baptist, a proud to be "full-Gospel" Pentecostal, a "word- walking" plain-old Protestant AND even a couple of New Age Unitarian Universal existentialists happened along while on their way to an inter-faith community leaders conference. As each one in turn came upon the man and saw him lying helplessly in the way, all passed by on the other side.
But a certain Samaritan as he journeyed came where he was, and when he saw him, he had compassion on him. Being on foot and without means of provision to render aid, the Samaritan ran two miles to the nearest public telephone and hurriedly dialed 911.
Because funding for the police, paramedic and fire rescue services had all been drastically cut, being woefully under-staffed there was no unit available to send, especially not to such an out-of-the-way place. The emergency dispatcher immediately gave the sympathetic Samaritan a referral list of private ambulance companies to contact.
One-by-one the Samaritan called each of the ambulance companies, but all required a cash deposit prior to actual transport of the patient, which they would be happy to charge to the "financially responsible party" on any valid American Express, MasterCharge or Visa Card. In lieu of a cash deposit, only a limited number of health insurance plans were accepted, providing they could obtain prior authorization from the health care provider for ambulance services (but no HMO's or PPO's accepted.)
In vain the Samaritan tried to explain that the thieves had stripped the man naked and left him penniless without his wallet; there was no way to show proof of health care coverage even if he had any! The Samaritan was praised & verbally applauded for his valiant efforts to act as an advocate on the injured man's behalf, but since he was unable to secure the required deposit, he was politely refused service. The Samaritan was admonished not to worry himself any longer about the victimized man. Someone else has probably already come along, had undoubtedly seen the man's plight and provided assistance.
Not to be thwarted in his quest to get help for the badly injured and hopelessly stranded stranger, the Samaritan hastened off in the direction of the nearest town. With an air of expectancy he entered the first establishment he found which was a "ready-rental-car" agency. Although all he wanted to do was get the fallen traveler into town ...
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