Also in China, but a number of years later.
This happened one Sunday morning after church. I was with my friend, wheeling our bicycles down the narrow lane to the main road. We were part of the crowd of about 600 people. Then I glanced him, out of the side of my eyes.
As a Foreigner
In comparison with home, the wages in China are very low. However, compared to non professional Chinese, as a foreigner a person is considered very wealthy. On the other hand, it means living among very poor people.
Without universal health insurance, nor a culture of generosity, beggars were many. Daily they would be along the road or walking around shaking a tin if they were capable.
This man was sitting at the side of the lane with one trouser leg rolled up revealing a huge ulcer on his leg. Like the crowd around me, I continued to walk towards the main road. Then that soft voice of direction, “Go back and help that man.”
I turned to my friend and told her that we had to help that man. Her immediate reply was, “There are so many people like that in China, you can’t help all of them.”
“You are right, we can’t. But right here and now there is only ONE and we can help ONE,” I replied.
We manoeuvred our bikes to walk back through the throng of people, towards the man with the injured leg. With my friend translating, I learned that he had a doctor helping him free of charge, but she was not able to give him the required medication and dressings. We made an appointment to meet on the following Wednesday, at the hospital where he had been getting some treatment.
After explaining the situation to the doctor, she wrote the necessary scripts and my friend went to the medicine shop for me, to get the medicine. It did not break the bank, and a very poor, (and crippled) man was able to have his ulcer healed.
My friend’s words to me were, “You have changed my mind about helping poor people.” I only obeyed the direction the Lord had given me.
“Which of these three do you think was a neighbour to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?”
The expert in the law replied, “The one who had mercy on him.” Jesus told him, “Go and do likewise.” (Luke 10:36-37)
This famous story, often quoted, teaches us not to ignore the plight of those in distress. The reminder I was given stirred us into action.