LOOKING FOR MERCIFUL SAMARITANS
Guest post by Louis Pool
I had always thought that to take care of each other, especially taking care of those who have a lot less than we do or who experience poverty due to fleeing from war or perhaps due to suffering some kind of injustice, was a command coming mostly coming from the New Testament. The other day, when I read the Poverty and Justice bible, I was surprised by the thoughts about same subject also communicated in the Old Testament;
e.g. reading from Deut. 24:14, many ages before Christ, Moses specifically called on his people to take care of the poor. Special mention is made of the needy, the foreigners and the widows. Note Deut. 24:19: ‘When you are harvesting in your field, and you overlook a sheaf, do not go back to get it. Leave it for the foreigner, the fatherless and the widow, so that the Lord your God may bless you in all the work of your hands’ .
[With regard to the specific mentioning of foreigners, maybe herein is a ‘God’ message for Donald Trump as well: building bridges is better than building walls?]
What Moses really says: let part of your harvest [income] go to the poor…. And in doing so: you won’t even miss whatever you leave aside for the poor, because God will be good for you. This is a principle of mutual advantage that goes back many millennia….
I have always been intrigued by Jesus’ story of the merciful Samaritan. For a long time, I always thought that our neighbour must be the person who is sick, or who is hungry, or who has been wounded and who might die; and that it is our duty to care for our neighbour. But looking carefully at the story, note that Jesus points to the Samaritan as being the neighbour. He was the only one who cared for the person who was robbed and left for dead at the side of the road. Looking at it this way, I had to ask myself the question: For whom can I be the merciful Samaritan? For whom can I be a neighbour?
For the past ten years, we [i.e. Hart voor Kinderen / Heart for Children] felt compelled to help orphaned, vulnerable and/or abandoned children in the poorer parts of the world. In fact, we helped hundreds of them. These are mostly children in Africa, China and Haiti whose circumstances in life without any assistance are extremely difficult. And thanks to the regular support from Hart voor Kinderen/ Heart for Children we were able to give these children a chance to a better life.
Did you know that in Switzerland there is a group of people who call themselves the Berner Samaritans? Every year they award a price to someone or to those who did something special or beneficial for ‘his or her’ neighbour(s). Now I must mention that some time ago, we [Hart voor Kinderen/ Heart for Children] were honoured by being awarded this price….
In all humility, note that what we as Hart voor Kinderen / Heart for Children are doing for the poverty-stricken children of the world is not to win any particular prices. But this group of Swiss people did get me to thinking. Should we perhaps have not such a group of people here as well, I thought? But then something else struck me: As donors to Hart voor Kinderen/ Heart for Children enabling us to give our help to all these children, YOU ARE REALLY ALL merciful Samaritans….are you not? Perhaps this is a much better name than ‘donor’?
This Christmas, we want to give thanks to all the Samaritans of Hart voor Kinderen / Heart for Children who have a heart for the poor children in the world!