Don't forget that little is much
Faith and Culture:
“Give a little bit, give a little bit of your love to me; I'll give a little bit, I’ll give a little bit of my love to you; There’s so much that we need to share, so send a smile and show you care.”
-“Give A Little Bit” lyrics by Roger Hodgson and Rick Davies
I saw something the other day we used to see a lot of although not so much anymore. Travelling between Calgary and Airdrie, I observed a driver stop to pick up a hitch-hiker.
Watching the young man approach that vehicle to negotiate a ride prompted some reflection on what I was witnessing. One citizen was giving another “a lift” as we used to call it - a comparatively inconsequential act of goodwill, to be sure - yet one that reminded me of how much times have changed and why.
When I was a kid, my oldest brother once hitch-hiked to Vancouver and back and we thought little of it. In time, however, a few horrific stories began to be reported in the news of how either driver or guest had inflicted significant harm on the other. Not surprisingly, dad and mom suddenly were not as nonchalant about their younger children emulating their oldest when it came to hitchin’-a-ride.
Given we live in a society riddled by crime and mayhem, it goes without saying that looking out for one’s safety is wise. Nevertheless, as I drove the remaining few miles to my destination that day, I couldn’t help but silently lament how fear and anxiety regularly contribute to the growing depersonalization we’re regularly confronted with as we go about our lives.
I may be part of disappearing breed, but I’m still a fan of good, old-fashioned neighbourliness. Such, of course, requires a certain amount of trust in the inherent goodness of most Canadians. To become completely cynical in that regard contributes to losing sight of the fact that when we perform small deeds of voluntary kindness, we can never really know precisely what kind of a vacuum we may be filling in someone’s life. Indeed, seldom a week goes by that I’m not reminded that giving even a little bit to someone in need can amount to much in terms of making somebody’s day.
As I asked myself if I would have picked up that hitch-hiker had he still been in search-mode when I happened along, I was somewhat startled to realize how easy it is to rationalize lack of involvement in another’s plight. I’ve already referred to safety concerns or what might be called “the risk factor.” Yet the more I thought about it, I couldn’t help but wonder if that doesn’t just become a convenient excuse justifying a preferred inclination to stay uninvolved in helping people out – you know, it’s potentially too inconvenient!
When Jesus directed us to love our neighbours as we love ourselves, was he unaware of “the risk factor” in so doing come the fast-paced and dangerous world of the 21st century? Or, as the story of the Good Samaritan suggests, did he assume that risk always would be part of authentic love?
Tim Callaway is pastor of Faith Community Baptist Church. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org