Being a Noticer

In the parable of the Good Samaritan, all three non-victims did the first thing required of a good neighbor: 

  • the priest – “when he saw him…” (Luke 10:31)
  • the Levite – “when he… saw him…” (Luke 10:32)
  • the Samaritan – “when he saw the man…“ (Luke 10:33)

The first thing that is expected of a good neighbor is that he or she should “see” what’s going on around them. A good neighbor should be an observer – one who keeps their eyes open, one who notices what’s happening in their world. We miss many opportunities to be a good neighbor just because we fail to keep our eyes open. Andy Andrews has written a book called The Noticer – a parable about a man who had been given a gift of noticing things others miss. The term “noticer” implies a deeper seeing than just having one’s eyeballs fixed on something.

I had some eyeballs fixed on me one time at the Post Office. I pulled a big package out of the back seat of my car and turned to head toward the building, when I abruptly and clumsily tripped over one of those concrete curbs. I took quite a hard fall, busted my knee, ripped my pants leg, and had blood dripping off my leg and my hands where I had tried unsuccessfully to catch myself. Naturally I looked up to see if anyone saw my colossal mishap – and observed a long line of people at the post office staring at me. Like the people in Jesus’ parable, they did see me. However, unlike the Good Samaritan, no one came to my aid. I crawled back to the car, put the package back in, and headed home to recoup my dignity. 

The second thing expected of a good neighbor is a response – and here is how the non-victims in our parable responded:

  • the priest – “passed by on the other side.” (Luke 10:31)
  • the Levite – “passed by on the other side.” (Luke 10:32)
  • the Samaritan – “had compassion. He went over to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on olive oil and wine.” (Luke 10:33-34)

You might think the first two guys didn’t respond at all, but actually they did. They said “no” – “no” to feeling compassion for the victim on the roadside, “no” to the interruption in their busy schedule, and “no” to the opportunity to be a good neighbor.

Let’s ask ourselves some questions:
1 – Am I a noticer?
2 – Do I have compassion for my neighbor in need?
3 – Am I willing to be interrupted?
4 – Am I willing to do something?
5 – Do I really want to be a good neighbor?

By Judy Shrout

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