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Doug Johnson: A tip and a pit, two parables show who we are as people

Years ago, a man went to a convention where the famous African American scientist/inventor George Washington Carver was scheduled to speak.

In the hotel lobby, the man had four pieces of luggage. He said to nearby a black man, “Help me carry my bags.”

On the elevator, the man bragged about the accomplishments of science, while Carver listened to the man’s words.

In the room, the man handed Carver some money as a tip.

“I don’t want it,” Carver said.

“Why?” asked the man.

“Because I don’t need it.”

“By the way, what is your name?”

“I’m George Washington Carver.”

The man was terribly embarrassed. “I didn’t realize who you were. One of the reasons I came to this conference was to meet you. Why did you help me?”

“Well, Sir,” Carver replied, “you did need help.”

Throughout our lives, we meet all kinds of people.

Some people are nice, polite, and courteous, others are rude, obnoxious, and downright mean! I have learned that a person’s attitude has nothing to do with their race, color, or creed, but it has everything to do with the choices they make.

The Apostle Paul encouraged the Philippian believers to “do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others. Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 2:3-5 NIV).

In other words, Paul wanted them to ‘choose’ to be unselfish and put others before themselves–regardless of how others treated them.

The story is told of a man who fell into a pit and couldn’t get out.

He began to cry for help hoping to attract the attention of someone passing by.

An objective person heard the man’s cries for help and said, “It is logical that someone could fall into that pit.” But didn’t help him out.

A Christian Scientist came along and said, “You only think you’re in that pit.” And went on his way.

A fundamentalist saw the man in the pit and said, “You deserve to be in that pit!”

A realist walked by and exclaimed, “Now THAT’S a pit!”

A scientist came by and calculated the amount of pressure it would take to get him out… then kept on walking.

An evolutionist said, “You are a rejected mutant and destined to be removed from the evolutionary cycle!”

An I.R.S. agent asked, “Are you paying taxes on that pit?”

A county inspector asked, “Did you get a permit to dig that pit?”

An evasive person just avoided the subject of the pit altogether.

A Charismatic said, “Just don’t receive that pit!”

Then Jesus came along and lifted him out of the pit.

Which one of these people are you?

When you see someone in need, will you help them or simply offer your opinion on their situation? God calls us to a higher standard of loving one another.

So, the next time we see someone in need, let’s make the right choice: instead of pointing an accusing finger at them, let’s lend them a helping hand!

Rev. Doug Johnson is the senior pastor at Raven Assembly of God in Raven, Virginia.