Bruce Collins, Evangelist

The personal website of Bruce Collins

A Missed Opportunity

Meditation for the week of July 25, 2010

Galatians 6:10 Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all, especially to those who are of the household of faith.

Recently, I was at our local library trying to record some radio programs. My family was coming to visit and I wanted to be able to relax with them and enjoy some family time.  In addition, my grandson was going to be baptized so my wife and I were trying to arrange the baptism.  I was busy with the Lord’s work.

My recording was not going well that day.  In the middle of the afternoon I left my equipment in the study room, notified the librarian in charge that I was leaving for a few minutes and went out for a quick snack at a close convenience store.  The tracts that I normally carry were in that study room.  

When I got back to the library, a well dressed man met me on the sidewalk and said that he had fallen on hard times.  He said he needed a place to stay for the night.  He seemed intelligent and articulate.  He didn’t appear to be on drugs or on drink.  He wasn’t smoking.   He asked if I knew Waterloo well enough to tell him where to go.  I suggested the Salvation Army which was close and he said he had been there.  Their beds were full.  They had directed him to another place and their beds were full.  He indicated that he had come to Waterloo for a job at a local industrial business but because he and his wife had gotten into some kind of squabble, he had spent a night in jail and had lost his job.  He said he was hungry and hadn’t been able to eat at the Salvation Army because he had gotten there too late.  So I had to decide what to do.  I generally will not give cash to someone like that because I assume that they are going to spend it on drugs, drink and cigarettes; but I do normally try to feed them.  But I was too busy to take time to take him to a restaurant and pay for a meal for him.  I did give him some money and made some suggestions as to where he might be able to get help.  I told him where the city bus station was in the downtown area if he wanted to get a bus pass. 

After I went back to my study room in the library, my conscience began to bother me.  I had a car and I could have driven him to a number of places that might have helped him.  I didn’t want to put my family at risk by taking him home since I didn’t know him, but I did have the ability to put him up in a motel for at least one night while he was trying to figure out what to do.  If I had done that, I might have made a friend. He might listened if I had told Him about a man who died on a cross to save me and who says He will never forsake me.  He might have thought I told him because I cared for him rather than because I wanted points in heaven.   I might have actually done the Lord’s work the Lord’s way.  I had taken the easy way.  I surely didn’t love my brother “as myself (Matt 22:39).” 

I have been concerned that our society and our churches have become very self-centered.  While there are faith based organizations that are making a difference in our society, I had a hard time coming up with a church other than the Salvation Army in our area that would have helped someone like him.  There may be some but I don’t know which ones they are.  Having been concerned about the lack of true Christianity in Christian circles, I should have personally stepped up and made a difference in this man’s live.   I had a chance to help this individual.  While I gave him some help, I passed up the chance to be a true Good Samaritan to him.  The Good Samaritan in Luke 10 took the man who needed help to a motel and told the owner to take care of the man and he would pay the bill. 

I have been thinking since that incident about how quickly a person could end up in a position of need himself.  We who have always had enough assume that we will always have enough but that may not always be true.  We or our loved ones may need someone or a program somewhere to help us when we are in deep need.  Will there be an angel of mercy available that will be willing to make the sacrifice of time and money for us should the need arise? 

I got my radio programs done.  We got the baptism arranged. But did I really do the Lord’s work that day?  I don’t think so.  I think I missed a great opportunity.

Bruce Collins

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