April 15, 2021
Volume 25, Number 14
Camille Coelho decided a walk on the beach was just the thing needed to relax. The intensive care nurse who lives in the Boston area often takes such strolls, looking for sea glass as she walks. On this stroll, however, she stepped into an area of mud that gave way beneath her. Soon she was up to her thighs, and unable to move.
In just a little while firefighters arrived and were able to free Coelho from her dilemma. She reflected later that the incident was much like the situation the world has been in for the last year – “stuck in the mud”. Her good humor was also on display when she mused, “I guess I just had my 15 minutes of fame.”
The prophet Jeremiah was in a worse situation. His messages from God were not what the people of Judah wanted to hear, and thus he was cast into a cistern. This was like a dungeon, except its floor was covered with a deep layer of mud and filth. Jeremiah 38:6 describes his plight: “And in the dungeon there was no water, but mire. So Jeremiah sank in the mire.”
A servant to the king, Ebed-melech, was alarmed and pled to the king on his behalf: “he is likely to die from hunger in the place where he is” (Jeremiah 38:9). This compassion came from a man who was himself an Ethiopian. The king heard his plea, however, and allowed the servant to rescue Jeremiah, pulling him out of the mire to safety.
Was this event on the mind of Jesus when He told about the Samaritan who stopped to help a Jew who had been beaten, robbed, and left for dead? We don’t know that, but the situations are similar. Though the crime victim was not stuck in the mire, he was stuck in helplessness and would have died had no one stopped to help.
The story about the Samaritan has become iconic for helping others in difficult situations. “Good Samaritan laws” have been enacted to protect people who stop at the scene of an accident from later lawsuits. Most recognize that there are times when help is desperately needed. Who will go out of their way to help?
Jesus spoke that parable when asked “Who is my neighbor?” (Luke 10:29). The Lord had endorsed the command to love one’s neighbor as ourselves (Luke 10:27,28), but who exactly does “neighbor” include? The parable makes it clear that anyone we know to be having a need qualifies as a neighbor, and we must love them enough to help.
The past year has been a large and messy mudhole. Some have suffered great losses during that time. But one thing we must never lose is our distinctiveness as followers of Christ. “Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ” (Galatians 6:2). When we see someone “stuck in the mud”, let’s reach out to them to help.
Come to the light God offers! Study His word, the Bible. Worship Him in spirit and truth (John 4:24). Get in touch with us if you’d like to discuss these ideas further.
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Copyright, 2021, Timothy D. Hall. All scripture quotations, unless otherwise noted, are from the New King James Version (Copyright, 1990, Thomas Nelson, Inc.).
“LightGrams” is produced by the Central Church of Christ, 2722 Oakland Avenue, Johnson City, Tennessee, 37601, and is written by Tim Hall, minister. It is sent free of charge every Thursday to all who request it. To subscribe or to receive more information, write to “Tim@GraceMine.org” (our E-mail address), to the U.S. mail address above, or call (423) 282-1571.
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