There is the Bible story of the good Samaritan. It is a good story. It puts pressure on people to feel guilty about walking by someone lying half dead on the side of the road. It doesn’t mean you’ll stop, it just means you know what you should do. Fortunately you don’t stumble across half dead people often and you can live life hanging with the healthy people.
But the story really is not about the inopportune times you may be placed in an unfortunate situation you can not avoid and thus guilted into helping. The value of the story is realizing the dead and dying are all around you. Ignoring anyone out of self importance or an inconvenience places you in the role of the many who walk past the Good Samaritan’s dying man on the side of the road.
In a practical sense, there was a time when i had opportunity to hang out at Starbucks for hours at a time using their free wifi, drinking a fine cup of coffee and work on websites. I became a regular and i knew who the other regulars were. Some of those regulars could be spotted doing church stuff such as meeting with church friends, working on a church event or possibly even reading their Bible.
Oddly enough, I can’t remember anyone ever asking me how i was doing… most avoided eye contact, walked around me or most generally did whatever was required to not interact. I think we as believers and members of Jesus’ Church have a responsibility to engage others as opportunity permits.
Engaging might be as simple as asking a stranger or even your friend, “How are you doing?” at the coffee shop or while standing in line to pay for groceries. Then, follow the question up with silence and a listening ear. You may have just stumbled on the Good Samaritan’s man dying on the side of the road.