I see the man lying on the side of the road.
His harsh, wounded features a sight to behold.
The closer I get, the worse the man looks.
He is bloody and beaten, his clothing they took.
The stranger had been left for dead, I could see,
And only men’s hands could this brutal be.
I know I should help him, I say in my mind.
But I’m already late, my schedule’s behind.
I feel for the man. He needs help, that I see.
But I am a priest, I have places to be.
I see her quite often, she knows who I am.
We exchange pleasantries, like acquaintances can.
I know she is dealing with terrible strife,
The unenviable strain of the trials of life.
I know I should help her, show her the way,
To lean on the one who is there every day.
But I have so many things on my plate,
And it seems that I always am running late.
So I leave her alone to despair in her strife,
Because I am a priest, I have my own life.
The first verse of this poem considers an illustration of what the priest could have been thinking in Jesus’ story of The Good Samaritan (Luke 10:30-36). The priest of Jesus’ day was a servant of God who was supposed to be devoted to taking care of the people’s spiritual needs through sacrifice and service. However, priests were not perfect, they were human like everyone else and prone to mistakes in judgment and priorities. While the priest in the story should have stopped to help, there are many conceivable reasons why he might not.
The second verse considers the same kind of reaction in God’s priests today. Under Christ, all Christians are priests (Revelation 1:6; 1 Peter 2:5) and are responsible for the service of God and the spreading of the Gospel to mankind. Yet, how often can we be found guilty of being the priest in Jesus’ story? We see those around us who need our help, but instead of acting we leave it for someone else.
The next time you see someone in the ditches of life, whether physically or spiritually, remember the priest and don’t pass them by.