Good Morning Brothers…

Last week, my family and I traveled down to New Mexico. A friend of mine has a cabin at 8000 feet, tucked up into a canyon, which is filled with trees, mountain streams, and bears. This area does not have a Wi-Fi, or a cell phone, connection but it does have peace, solitude, and morning temperatures in the 40’s and 50’s. I’m in…as they say. August can be brutal hot here in Kansas…and sometimes we need to be smart enough to leave. The absence of electronic connections, and thus being needed (at least perceived as being needed)…was tempered somewhat by the sounds of screaming boys running around the cabin and through the forest. Now…don’t get me wrong, I love the “ear splitting screeches” and the “back-of-the-throat-hacking-coughs-while-I’m-trying-to-sleep” sounds of my precious loved ones. I was just struggling with discerning whether I was “needed” or not. At some point (maybe it was 2am…I don’t really remember), it became obvious to me that I was not needed…but MOM was needed.

This cabin is near the ski resort town of Angel Fire, however, it is on the other side of the mountain. Angel Fire sits in a bowl of mountains and boasts membership in the “Enchanted Circle”. The Enchanted Circle is actually a road which connects a series of ski resort towns including Taos…the access from the cabin doesn’t involve any roads which could be considered “Enchanted”…it does include some roads which could be considered “Cursed” (the picture of the shredded tire is making a little more sense now). My wife and I decided to drive up and over the pass on one of those “cursed” roads to visit Angel Fire. We hadn’t been there in about 8 years and wanted to see if anything looked different. Arriving safely from the bumpy, twisty, 4×4 road which took us up and over…we drove along the main drag looking around. Nothing seemed different…turning around after driving through we headed back into town…we were all discussing lunch options when the tire blew.

I know that tire iron was under my seat.

I know that jack had a handle to engage the lift cylinder.

I know my wife was waiting for me to “lose my religion”.

This would be the moment in the story when I should tell you all about the strange sense of peace and calm that came over me. When I explained how the light inside of me radiated so brightly, cars were pulling over for ditch side baptisms. But…I didn’t have that kind of moment. My moment didn’t involve swearing and stomping…but my countenance was a bit more subdued than a chorus of angels singing. I looked to the sky after not finding my tire iron and realizing the jack didn’t have all the pieces I needed…and thanked God for the cloud cover and the cool temperatures because I knew this would take a while.

Luckily…or by God’s divine plan…we were able to get off the main road and parked in the entrance to a RV Park. The closest RV had an older man sitting in a lawn chair reading a book. I approached the gentleman and asked him if he had a tire iron and jack I could borrow. As luck would have it…or by God’s divine plan…the gentleman did have the items I needed but the tire iron didn’t have deep enough sockets for the lugs on my truck. At this point, the good Samaritan was engaged mentally into my ordeal. After multiple rides to the auto parts store, the correct items were purchased to safely change tires.

I want to take a break in the story here…and insert Luke 10: 30-37…the story of the Good Samaritan: Jesus replied and said, “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among robbers, and they stripped him and beat him, and went away leaving him half dead. And by chance a priest was going down on that road, and when he saw him, he passed by on the other side. Likewise a Levite also, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. But a Samaritan, who was on a journey, came upon him; and when he saw him, he felt compassion, and came to him and bandaged up his wounds, pouring oil and wine on them; and he put him on his own beast, and brought him to an inn and took care of him. On the next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper and said, ‘Take care of him; and whatever more you spend, when I return I will repay you.’ Which of these three do you think proved to be a neighbor to the man who fell into the robbers’ hands?” And he said, “The one who showed mercy toward him.” Then Jesus said to him, “Go and do the same.”

The Bible says that the Samaritan felt compassion for the injured man…that he showed mercy toward him.

When you break it down…that is the key to helping strangers. Once the stranger becomes engaged mentally with your ordeal…your ordeal becomes his ordeal…and a road side comradely is forged. The compassion needed to extend mercy…is from God. My Good Samaritan even gave me his phone number in case I had trouble finding a tire in Angel Fire, since he was heading over to Taos that afternoon. I can remember him writing down my phone number and tire information while my wife and boys were climbing back into the truck…I was thinking to my self….”This guy really drips Galatians 5:22-23″

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.

May the Good Lord above fill our hearts with the compassion to extend mercy to complete strangers. I think about all of the stranded motorists I’ve driven by and did not stop…because I saw them talking on a cell phone and assumed they were already taken care of. I’m sure the people driving by us, assumed we had a tire iron and a handle for the jack. What idiot in a 1 Ton work truck wouldn’t have these things…? (apparently…me) I can’t assume…the people I pass…have what they need…especially when stopping…opens the door to compassion and mercy.

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