News from the Tennessee Valley Religion

Elder Jonathon Pulliam

You, too, can make a difference

Each of us, whether good or bad, has been an example to someone along the course of life.

Maybe you are a teacher who affected a student or a preacher who touched a member of the congregation. Maybe you are a parent who directed the life of your child. Maybe you are someone who influenced someone to join a gang.

Whether consciously or not, each of us has touched the lives of others. The easy thing in life is to leave the task of influencing others for good to someone else. How many times have we heard someone on the job say, "That's not in my job description" or " I don't get paid to do that?" In your community you may have seen a child who needed assistance and passed by because he or she wasn't your child.

This is taking the easy road. But we all have a responsibility to positively affect the lives of others.

You may have heard the story of the Good Samaritan in Luke 10. A certain man was traveling to Jericho and along the way he was beaten, robbed and left on the side of the road to die. A priest came along. When he saw the man, he crossed the street and passed the ailing man. Maybe he was too holy to help. Then a Levite does the same thing. Maybe he didn't want to contaminate himself.

Then a stranger, an outsider, a Samaritan, came by and helped. He put the wounded man on his donkey, bandaged him and carried him to an innkeeper. The Samaritan paid the hotel bill and told the innkeeper that if what he paid was not enough, he would return with whatever was needed to bring the wounded Jewish citizen back to health.

The Samaritan did not see a Jew, someone who could have been his enemy. He saw an individual who needed assistance.

Many have taken the role of the priest in that story. If the ailing person is not in my ethnic group, then I'll pass by. If the needy are not in my social class, then I can't lend a helping hand. If the one that has been left for dead isn't an acquaintance, then it's not my responsibility. This thought pattern has too long plagued our society.

I challenge you to evaluate your responsibility as a citizen.

People are ailing on the road. They have been left for dead and wish they had not taken the road they were on. You can make the difference. You can change a life. It's your responsibility to clean their wounds and take them to the innkeeper.

So, mentor a child. Become a volunteer for an organization. Be that teacher who touches the life of that special student. Be that minister who changes a congregant's life. Be the parent who your child admires.

You can make a difference.

Elder Jonathon Pulliam, pastor of Apostolic Church of God in Decatur, is among several local ministers writing religion columns for THE DAILY. For more information, call Melanie Smith on Tuesdays or Wednesdays at 340-2468.

Elder Jonathon Pulliam Elder Jonathon Pulliam

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