Posted by: Omar C. Garcia | January 24, 2013

A Dangerous Unselfishness

In the vicinity of Mount Nebo in Jordan

We started our day at the top of Mount Nebo, the most revered holy site in Jordan. It was at this place that God had allowed Moses to see the Promised Land that he would not be permitted to enter. As I silently surveyed the magnificent panorama, I thought about Moses. He had risked everything for this moment — Pharaoh’s wrath, the hardships of the wilderness, the moods of a rebellious people, and so much more. And then Moses died but his people entered into the Promised Land.

IMG_1978

Our team atop Mount Nebo.

I also thought about the message that Martin Luther King, Jr. preached on April 3, 1968, the night before he was assassinated in Memphis, Tennessee. His message was entitled “I’ve Been to the Mountaintop.” That night, he spoke these prophetic words:

We’ve got some difficult days ahead. But it really doesn’t matter with me now, because I’ve been to the mountaintop. And I don’t mind. Like anybody, I would like to live a long life — longevity has its place. But I’m not concerned about that now. I just want to do God’s will. And He’s allowed me to go up to the mountain. And I’ve looked over, and I’ve seen the Promised Land. I may not get there with you. But I want you to know tonight, that we, as a people, will get to the Promised Land. And so I’m happy tonight; I’m not worried about anything; I’m not fearing any man. Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord.



Ten hours later, Martin Luther King, Jr. was dead. But his legacy lives on and has changed our world forever.

King said something else in that speech that I thought about as we left Mount Nebo to visit Syrian refugees living in the immediate vicinity of this historic site. He challenged his listeners to “develop a kind of dangerous unselfishness” — like that demonstrated by the Good Samaritan. “The Levite asked, ‘If I stop to help this man, what will happen to me?’ But the Good Samaritan reversed the question: ‘If I do not stop to help this man, what will happen to him?’ That’s the question before you tonight.” And that’s the question that I have not been able to get out of my mind as we have visited so many families in desperate need.

The most emotional visit for me was the last visit of the day. Three generations of one family welcomed us into their modest rented quarters. The patriarch of the family was reading his Qu’ran when we entered the room. We shared why we had come and then listened to their story of hardship. The elderly man talked about the bomb that had destroyed his neighbor’s home and killed his dear friend. “My son and I picked up the pieces of his body that had been blown apart,” he said, “and we put them together for burial.”

Omar - Syrian Refugee - Jamal

With the family patriarch and Jamal Hashweh, Director of Global Hope Network.

And then he talked about how the government forces had come to their home. The soldiers harvested all of his olives and then destroyed every tree he had planted as a young man. This orchard was the family’s livelihood. To add insult to injury, he continued, they blew up and destroyed what they had harvested and then proceeded to demolish their home until nothing was left standing.

At the conclusion of our time together I prayed for the family and for the peace of Syria. Afterward the old patriarch sat and wept. It was one of the most intense moments we have experienced in our time among the refugees. One of his granddaughters stood outside the room, crying in her father’s arms while telling him that she wanted for peace to come to Syria so that they could return home. Each of us wiped the tears from our own eyes as family members thanked us for coming to help.

As we walked toward our vehicles I looked in the direction of Mount Nebo and once again thought about King’s words. If we do not help these people, what will happen to them? That’s the question each of us must ask ourselves as God puts hurting people in our way. May we always respond to those in need with the kind of dangerous unselfishness demonstrated by the Good Samaritan.


Responses

  1. Speechless…!

    • I have certainly been given so much to think about on this trip. Thanks for following our journey.

  2. I too have no words after reading this.

    • Thanks for following our journey and praying.

  3. May you be a blessing to all you meet! Good Samaritans…Arise!!!! (If you’ve tasted the compassion of God, you cannot help but pass it on)

  4. The Bible was so important to Dr. Martin Luther King; it guided his vision of racial justice and led him to choose the more excellent way of love and nonviolent protest over hatred, despair and violence. Thank you for sharing and reminding us the way of LOVE. For GOD is love.

    • Thanks for your comment, Veronica. The world is a better place because of men like Dr. King.

  5. Thank you Omar,

    I’ve been feeling a bit overwhelmed and worried the last few days about the weight of the ministry and how to get people more engaged. Just saying the words “If I do not stop to help this man, what will happen to him?” took a load off and gave me the perspective I needed.

    God Bless You and Safe Travels,

    Chad

    • You’re welcome, Chad. I appreciate and admire your love for the least of these and all that you do to help folks struggling with addictions. May God continue to strengthen and sustain you as you do this good work. You are making a difference for the kingdom.

  6. Thank you for your sharing Omar may you be blessed in all your journeys. You have certainly reinforced what I need to do to take my devotion and work with families to the next level.

    • Thanks, Michelle. Blessings to you in your service to families.


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