Tuesday 04 June 2013

Bible Book:

“The next day he took out two denarii, gave them to the innkeeper and said, ‘Take care of him; and when I come back, I will repay you whatever more you spend.’” (v. 35)

Luke 10:25-37 Tuesday 4 June 2013


Earlier this year I visited Ethiopia, a country, I sensed, onthe cusp of vital change and development, and yet its recenthistory has been one of great famine and hardship. As the group Iwas traveling with prepared to leave Ethiopia we listened to awoman who had seen the worst and some of the best of what life hasto offer, and she asked us to be witnesses to and for the people ofEthiopia.

The Good Samaritan was a witness to the worst behaviours ofhumankind. To ignore and behave with selfish intent are some of themost abhorrent behaviours we so often see today and which areopposite to the message of the gospel (the good news of the loveand new life offered by Christ).

The Good Samaritan was witness to the needs of the attacked manand to those who assisted him in seeing that the injured travellerwas restored to good health. He enabled local people to do theright thing without interfering in their daily lives.

While we travelled across Ethiopia, our white skin attractedthose in need because it announced our wealth. We could have divedinto our pockets and handed out Ethiopian birr (the Ethiopiancurrency), but that would be a quick fix and as damaging as anyintoxicant and depriving us of the opportunity to understand thesituation fully.

Ethiopia is opening up and taking charge of its own destiny. Itis both an exciting and challenging time for them. Those who arebear witness to its peoples and enable local people to have a lifeare behaving like the Good Samaritan:

  • Susan Aitchison left Scotland some years ago and enabled localpeople to set up a local school in Lalibela, where some of thestudents have now graduated. One of these is now working with herin a new restaurant which will, Susan envisages, be completelystaffed by local people. Then Susan can retire knowing that she hasbeen a Good Samaritan with her skills and talents.
  • In the last year MRDF (Methodist Relief and Development Fund)has set up a beekeeping project in a remote region of Ethiopiawhich has enabled local people to generate their own income, andlearn skills which they can transfer to other projects.
  • Habitat for Humanity is working with local people to buildtheir own homes in communities where the weakest are strengthenedby the help and support of neighbours. And schools have becomecentres for local communities by setting up projects for adultsthat give them skills and an income, while their children arereceiving an education.

As Ethiopia is enabled to trust other organisations so that itdoes not lose its own identity, its recognised bad culturalpractices are being challenged by her own people because they havewitnessed the changes that others can offer as positive waysforward for them.

To Ponder

  • What does being a witness or a Good Samaritan mean to you interms of the needs of some of the poorest in the world?
  • Being a witness to and for the people of any developing nation,carries a significant responsibility. How do we attend to the needsof people without interfering in their identity or causing furtherdependence?

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