NOTE: You may listen to this song here.
A man went on a business trip that took him far from his home.
A Sunday stroll took him to the worst part of the city.
His shoes and clothes bespoke such wealth; his watch and rings so glittered.
Thugs beat him up and picked him clean and just left him there dying.
A preacher came along that way en route to church that morning,
A sermon forming in his mind about God’s love and caring.
He saw the man, his clothes stripped off, another hapless street bum.
An illustration he could use, he noted as he rushed by.
A deacon from that preacher’s church came by there moments later.
He saw the blood and bruises and he feared he’d get infected.
He knew he’d be late if he stopped, so scared that he’d get robbed, too.
It wouldn’t do to get involved and fail to do the Lord’s work.
A homeless man awoke near by, his cheeks red from the cold winds.
He looked into that dying face, his heart filled with compassion.
He took the blanket from his back and wrapped it round the victim;
He tore a patch from his own shirt and worked to stop the bleeding.
Though old and bent, that homeless man ran to the busy curbside.
He waved his arms to stop a cab and pointed to the stranger.
“Take him for help or else he’ll die.” The cabbie hesitated.
“My coins are few; take these for him. Come back. I’ll find more for you.”
When you are bruised and broken, who would you want for your neighbor?
A man whose love is only words or one who’ll tend your bleeding?
A man who always counts the cost or one who holds back nothing?
And who will YOU be neighbor to? Will God’s love reach out through you?
About This Song:
Novelist John Grisham probably doesn’t know that his book, The Street Lawyer, was a major inspiration for this song. I’d long wanted to retell Jesus’ story of the Good Samaritan in song. With its emphasis on the homeless, The Street Lawyer gave me the handle I needed.
The comparisons aren’t perfect, of course, but they make the point, I believe:
- A traveler gets robbed, beaten, and left for dead
- Hypocritical religious people see the victim, but don’t want to get involved
- A man the victim would probably have otherwise despised comes to his rescue
- The rescuer does everything he can to help the victim
- The rescuer arranges for the victim to go elsewhere for additional care
- The rescuer offers to make good for any additional cost
And just as Jesus then asked his listeners who the real neighbor was, this song ends by challenging the listener/reader to be the kind of neighbor Jesus described.
Free lead sheets (lyrics, tune, and chords) are available for many of my songs. Click on the Lead Sheets tab at the top of this page to see whether one is available for this song. Videos for many of my songs, some recorded at home and some at our church’s nursing home ministry, can be accessed at my website, RogerBruner.com, under the Listen tab.
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