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Love in Action

Jesus’ life was filled with accounts of His love being demonstrated to all He met. The account of the compassionate Good Samaritan in the teachings of our Lord Jesus is one of the most frequently told stories in the New Testament. Children learn the story in their earliest visits to Sunday School.  Teens hear the story to remind them to show love to those that are hurting.  Adults are convicted by the story because we are always “rushing to get to the next place” and often miss those divine appointments to help someone along the way. Here is a story told by Dr. David Jeremiah of a “Good Samaritan” …..

Andrew Arroyo is the founder and president of a large California real estate company. He and his family attend the church that I pastor, and over the last several months we have become good friends. One Friday afternoon he was making a hurried stop at a storage unit to pick up supplies for his annual company award event. While he was loading his car with decorations, including stanchions, red velvet ropes, and a red carpet for his associates to walk on as they entered the event, he noticed an elderly woman outside the door of the storage facility. 

Very methodically, the woman was laying down blankets on the concrete next to a shopping cart. It was obvious she was preparing to spend the night there. As he worked and watched, he felt he was watching his own mother or grandmother preparing to sleep outdoors on a cold winter’s night.  

Andrew approached the woman and handed her one of the Subway gift cards he always carries with him. And that could have been the end of it. After all, the work of recognizing and appreciating his employees was important and caring work as well. 

Instead, Andrew opened the door to a conversation and learned her story. She was a seventy-three-year-old retired banker. Widowed, she received Social Security and a pension, but the total wasn’t enough to make ends meet. For fifteen years, she’d lived in her van. A year earlier it was towed, and she didn’t have enough to reclaim it. She’d been on the streets ever since. 

For a moment Andrew was conflicted, but then his compassion moved him to action. He told the woman he wanted to help her, and the first thing he would do was get her a hotel room until he could figure out a permanent solution. He turned to go back to loading his supplies, and an idea struck him. “Could I roll out this red carpet for you?” he asked. 

The woman was speechless. He quickly set up the ropes and rolled the carpet out. And this one spontaneous act brought her to life. Her eyes filled with tears as she shared memories of going to the opera, of dancing, of being a talented seamstress in her younger days and designing her own evening dresses. It was a conversation Andrew will never forget. 

“I’m tired of helping people with a temporary solution and then saying, ‘I will pray for you.’

That night Andrew found the woman a hotel room. For the next six weeks he paid the bill while he looked for a travel trailer she could move into. He found one, bought it, and a member of his company let him park it on his land. Eventually he found an RV park where the trailer could be permanently moved. 

As I write this chapter, this woman still lives in the RV park, her pension and Social Security enough to meet her needs.  So … Why did he do all this for a stranger? 

“I’m tired of helping people with a temporary solution and then saying, ‘I will pray for you.’ Loving someone who loves you is easy. Loving a complete stranger or someone who uses and takes advantage of you is not (Luke 6:37). I’ve discovered this form of unconditional love (agape) is where the true blessing of mercy and compassion resides. It takes a supernatural kind of love to conquer the flesh that says, ‘This person doesn’t deserve my love’ or ‘This person annoys me’ or ‘has offended me,’ therefore I don’t want them in my life.’ Yet Christ never ceases loving us despite our own multitude of sins.”i

(From a letter sent to David Jeremiah by Andrew ArroyoThis is an excerpt from chapter five of Dr. Jeremiah’s new book, A Life Beyond Amazing).