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I was watching The West Wing one day and heard this story from Leo McGarrey, the Chief of Staff. I have adapted it for use in a sermon with The Good Samaritan.

A man is walking down the street one day when he falls into a hole. He cries out for help to everyone that passes his way, and the first man to pass by is a rich man. He decides that he’s rich and so because of his wealth, he can help this man. He walks over to the hole, pulls out a $50 bill, throws it down to the man, and shouts, "Buy yourself a ladder!" and walks on. Well, that doesn’t get the man out of the hole.

The second person to pass by is a Christian. He decides that he’s a righteous man of God and because of that, he can help this man. So, he walks over to the hole, says a prayer for the man, calls down, "See you in church!" and walks on. Well, that doesn’t get the man out either.

Finally, the man’s friend walks by. The man calls out, "Hey, Joe, it’s me! It’s Bob, can you help me out?" So, his friend, Joe, walks over to the hole and jumps down in with the man. The man is astonished. "What did you do that for? Now, we’re both stuck down in this hole!"

"I jumped down," Joe replied, "because I’ve been here before, and I know the way out."

The message is that when you know the solution to a friend’s problem, don’t take the cheap way out by throwing money or cheap prayers at the problem...help them!

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