“Flatter than a pancake!” That’s what my dad would say if he were here. But he’s not here. He’s where I’m supposed to be.
To be honest, the flat object I am looking at does not resemble a pancake at all. Not one bit.
Montana. Foothills of the Rockies. A twenty-mile stretch of lonely road between two small towns. One of those towns is where I live. The other is where the most beautiful girl in the world lives. We are getting married today in her town. But I am halfway there. My car is sidelined with a tire that I wish did resemble a pancake. I mean, a well-made pancake is round. This tire is not.
Here I am, in my tux, rummaging around in the trunk for the spare. Only, there is no spare. The spare is actually on the car. It’s the tire that is flat.
I figure I’ll call my brother, who is my best man. I’ve always wondered about that metaphor as well. Why is he the best man? Shouldn’t that be the groom? But, no, we insist on calling someone else the best man. Anyway, I tried calling my brother. But, remember. Foothills of the Rockies. Lonely stretch of road. No cell phone service.
Late for my own wedding. I’d rather be late for my own funeral. Well, I guess that goes without saying. No vehicles in sight. Beautiful scenery. But I don’t need beautiful scenery. What I need is a good Samaritan. Another phrase I wondered about. What was a Samaritan anyway? And why was he good?
After several minutes of standing by my disabled car, thinking my only hope is to start walking – I mean, how long would it take me to walk ten miles? A couple of hours? I envision myself walking into church two hours late, sweating like a dog (yeah, I know. Dog’s don’t sweat. There’s another questionable simile). “Do you take this smelly, rumpled, tired-looking man to be your lawfully wedded husband?”
Anyway, I saw a vehicle slow down and pull off the road and stop in front of my car. A young man got out. “Need some help?” he said, grinning pleasantly.
I explained the situation to him and he offered to drive me to the church. A line from an old song ran through my head. Get me to the church on time. I hated leaving my car, especially since I had planned to use it on our honeymoon. But I had little choice. I accepted the offer of this stranger, and as we drove away, I noticed my car in the passenger side mirror, it’s headlights looking like two big eyes filled with fear. “Don’t leave me like this!”
“I’m Joe,” my new friend said. “I’ll be your good Samaritan today.”
“Frank,” I said. “About that. I’ve always wondered. Just what is a good Samaritan. I mean, I know it’s a person who helps another person, but why is he called that?”
“It’s from the Bible,” Joe said. “The Jews and the Samaritans were enemies. Jesus told about a Jewish man who was beaten up and robbed on a lonely road, and left for dead. Several people passed by, also Jews, but ignored him. Then a Samaritan came by. He helped the man, took him to town and paid for his stay at an inn until he recovered.”
We got to talking about the Bible. Turns out Joe believes the Bible is the Word of God. Says it tells us we are all sinners, and that Jesus died to pay the penalty for our sin. Says Jesus is the ultimate good Samaritan because sin made us His enemy, but He helped us anyway.
Joe got me to the church on time. And he offered to stick around and drive someone back to my car after the wedding with a spare tire to make repairs, and drive the car back for me.
So, my tire is no longer flatter than a pancake! And neither is my life. I have a brand new tire, a beautiful new wife, and a new Savior. Joe convinced me. He didn’t have to stop to help me, but he did. Jesus didn’t have to die to save me, but He did. How could I let either of their offers fall flatter than, well, than a pancake?
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