Once there was a cattle rancher who was hauling a load of horses from northern Utah to his ranch in southern Utah in the mountains near Richfield. He ran out of gas about ten miles north of Nephi on the way to Richfield. He pulled over onto the barrow pit on a slope that soon proved treacherous because the horses were bucking so hard my colleague feared that the truck would tip over. Car after car of people all dressed up to attend the Manti LDS temple went by him without slowing down or stopping. My friend was getting desperate. Then, out of nowhere, a battered pickup truck stopped. A whiskered man with a cigarette dangling from his lips asked my friend, "Having trouble?" "I'm out of gas," my friend replied. "I've got a barrel of gas in the back of my pickup so I'll fill you up." And so he filled the gas tank on my friend's truck. "Let me pay you," my friend said. "No, no, you don't need to pay me, the stranger said." "Then at least let me buy your dinner" my friend replied. "Just help the next man in need," the stranger said as he drove off.
The longer I have thought about this modern retelling of the Parable of the Good Samaritan, the more lessons I have learned. First lesson is that samaritans come in all shapes and sizes and colors and appearances. Second lesson is that samaritans expect no recompense, nothing whatever in return. They cross the road and lend a hand without expectation of any return. Their attention is focused solely on helping someone in a difficult situation. Thus, we learn that when we do something for someone, we should have no expectation that they will repay us, not now, not ever. We should have no expectation that they will do something we want or expect them to do as a result of our beneficence. We should have no less love or appreciation for them if they do not do what we hoped they would do. The Good Samaritan crosses the road, helps someone in need, and goes on his or her own way. Many times a person who has been the recipient of an unexpected good deed will, in turn, look for the next person to help, and then the next one, and then the original Samaritan may be repaid through a ripple effect of good deeds and helpful actions. Too often we may be full of what we think is good advice or helpful suggestions and we may feel hurt if someone avoids our suggestions or pays no attention to them. But if we are a truly good Samaritan, we will help someone no matter what their circumstances are, no matter how they may react, no matter what they may do. The doing of the deed with love and without prejudice or reservation is the pure act that truly defines the Good Samaritan.