"What man of you, having a hundred sheep, if he loses one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness, and go after the one which is lost, until he finds it?  And when he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing.  And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and neighbors, saying to them, 'Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep which was lost!'"  

Luke 15:4-6

October 17, 2007


One of the things I learned in security training when I worked in banking, was to make eye contact and greet each person that entered the bank. We were told to look up and say hello to everyone as soon as they walked through the doors; and if we saw someone we didn't recognize standing around the lobby, we were to go up to them and ask if they were being helped.

When one of my sisters and her husband attended Bible College in downtown Minneapolis, they were told to not make eye contact with anyone when walking down the street. They were to keep to themselves and not speak to anyone they passed by. That is difficult for me to do.

I grew up in a small town where you spoke to people, waved at passing cars, and helped out your neighbors. I still catch myself walking through Walmart, smiling at people and saying hello. Throughout the years it has been somewhat surprising how many people have asked for help. I believe that was because of my being friendly.

One particular time, I was buying Ibuprofen, when I looked up and saw a young dad standing there looking very flustered. He sounded very desperate when he asked if I would please help him. He and his wife were first-time parents, and she had sent him to get something for their baby who was running a fever. He was totally lost and had no idea what to buy. I saw some medication that my sisters had used with their kids and recommended that. He was so grateful and appreciative.

A while back, a lady asked if I had an extra ink pen, because she had a long grocery list and needed to mark off the items, and couldn't find one in her purse. I've been asked by individuals to help find items. Once a couple of teenage boys were standing in the same aisle as me, when the store played a commercial for Mothers Day. They immediately panicked and turned around and asked when Mothers Day was, and whether or not they had already missed it. I've been asked my opinion from other women shopping for clothes.

A few years ago, I was in a McDonald's drive-up. Without really thinking, I smiled at the lady when she gave me my food and told her to have a nice day. She looked at me in surprise, and thanked me for smiling and being so nice. She said that it seemed like all the customers had been in bad moods and rude, and told me that I had made her day. Something that seemed so easy and simple to me, unknowingly had a positive effect on this young girl.

A few weeks back my sister and I were driving back from Arkansas. She was getting low on gas in her car and we had passed several gas stations, trying to find a cheaper price. We finally decided to just stop before running out. My sister was pumping the gas, when an older lady pulled up on the opposite side of the gas pump. She asked my sister if she would show her how to pump gas. Her husband had recently passed away and she had never had to put gas in the car before. That morning, she had made up her mind that she needed to learn how and just go do it. She had prayed all day that God would send a nice Christian lady to help her. My sister told her that not only was she a Christian, she was also a pastor's wife. The older lady was so grateful.

There are those who don't want to be bothered by others. They are too busy with their own agenda to make themselves available to help someone else. They don't want to be put out.

Luke 9:27 says, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength, and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself.” Jesus was then asked, “And who is my neighbor?”

Verses 30-36 is the parable of the good Samaritan. In this parable a man went down from Jerusalem to Jericho. He fell among thieves, who stripped him of his clothes, wounded him, and departed, leaving him half dead. The first guy came by and passed on the other side of the road. The second man also saw him lying there and passed by on the other side of the road. The third man saw him and had compassion. He cleaned and bandaged the man's wounds, set him on his own animal, took him to an inn, and took care of him. The next day he paid the innkeeper and asked him to take care of the man, and if more money was owed, he would repay it when he came back through that area.

Jesus then asks, “So which of these three do you think was neighbor to him who fell among thieves?” The man answered, “He who showed mercy on him.” Jesus told him to go and do likewise.

Several years ago, I was driving back home from visiting one of my sisters. It was dark and the highway I was on was fairly deserted. I was about five miles or so from home and was driving through a stretch that was hilly and curvy. I drove down a hill, where there was a narrow bridge at the bottom, before the road went directly back uphill. Just as I got to the bridge, I saw a girl standing in the middle of the road, jumping up and down, waving her hands. Of course, this was back before everyone had cell phones. I had a choice to either stop or run over her. I stopped and she ran to my car window. She was crying hysterically and begging me to please help her. I saw a car parked at the bottom of the ravine with the headlights on. I told her to get in, and proceeded to take her to the closest gas station, which was a couple miles away. The owner was a deputy with the sheriff's department. We found out that she had been walking in the small town where she lived, which was a couple hours away, and a man stopped and offered her a ride. She got in and they ended up driving to the area where I found her. He had driven down a dirt road, and had proceeded to try to force himself on her. She had managed to get away from him, and ran up the hill to the highway. She realized she was in trouble and was petrified. When we got to the store, she hugged me and thanked me over and over for helping her. The police called her father to come get her. I went and told the assistant pastor at my church, who had worked with troubled youth and had done a lot of counseling in those types of situations. He went and stayed with her until she was safe with her dad. She kept telling the police that I had saved her life and told the assistant pastor to please tell me thank you.

Our neighbor is not only those who live next door, but can be complete strangers whose path we cross. It may be something as simple as helping someone in Walmart, smiling at someone and telling them to have a nice day, or teaching an older lady how to pump gas. Or it may be something that will require more of our time and attention. It may require us putting ourselves on the line and being in the role of the “Good Samaritan”.

May none of us cross to the other side of the road when we see someone in need, but may we forget our own plans and agenda for that moment in order to reach out to someone in need. By showing love to others, we show our love for God.


Even for a good Samaritan, it's easy to miss people in need of help. I couldn't count the number of times I drove past a car on the shoulder and then realized that the driver might need help. The simple fact is, I don't usually look for people I could help. But when I need help myself, I look all around for anyone willing. I do it every day on the drive home: I turn left onto a four-lane road, then need to change lanes immediately where traffic is almost always backed up. I keep my sunglasses off then, so people can see my face and my pleading expression. I look them in the face, and search for someone who looks pleasant and friendly. Those are usually the people who are most willing to help. I think that's why people often ask Loretta for help. You can tell by looking at her that she would love to help others.

So, how do the rest of us look? Even when we don't think to look around for someone in need, could the person in need look at us and think, “Maybe they would be willing to help me.”?


Dump Cake

1 can crushed pineapple with juice

1 ½ sticks butter

1 can cherry pie filling

½ cup chopped pecans (opt.)

1 pkg. yellow cake mix

Grease a 9x13 cake pan. Pour in pineapple, spread evenly. Then spread on cherry pie filling. Sprinkle dry cake mix over filling. Dot with butter and add pecans. Bake at 350 for 1 hour. Serve with ice cream or Cool Whip.


Fall weather and cooler temperatures is when I start thinking about cooking soups and chili. It is very difficult for me to make a small batch though, and both my husband and I get tired of it before we finish it all. A great solution is to buy some plastic containers that are for use in the freezer, and freeze part of the soup or chili for later. It's also nice to have extra in the freezer for future use when you just don't want to cook or need something in a hurry or have unexpected company show up at meal time.


My sister and brother-in-law bought me my one and only bicycle, for my birthday, when I was probably around eight years old. They had bought it at a yard sale, then painted it and put a new banana seat on it. I learned how to ride it, but was never really very good. I was always kind of wobbly and had plenty of wrecks. Of course, I lived on a rocky dirt road so everywhere I rode was rough riding. And of course whenever I wrecked, I would land on rocks and skin my knees.

Six or seven years ago, some friends called and asked me to meet them at a nature park close by and go bike riding with them. I told them that I hadn't ridden a bike since I was a kid and they assured me that it would come back to me. I was horrible!! I couldn't keep it going straight and was wobbling all over the bike path the whole way. I think I scared them more that I did myself. I was pretty proud of myself for not wrecking though. Needless to say, they never asked me to go back riding with them anymore after that!


In order to love your neighbor as yourself, you have to first love yourself.

God loves you and so do we!

Loretta & Jon