Lawson writes . . . sharing thoughts and memories

February 1, 2011


Filed under: Uncategorized — lawsonjolly @ 5:00 am

When I was about 10 years old, our family was returning from the county fair. Suddenly my father exclaimed that a car had left the road and was rolling down an embankment. He pulled off the road, stopped the car, and opened the door to go help. He told my mother to stay in the car with my sister. He looked at me and said I should come with him. “Perhaps you can help,” he said.

I hastened down the embankment with my father. The car had rolled over several times. An older teenager was on the ground near the car, and a young man was inside. My father pulled him out and realized he was not badly injured. He rushed to the young lady to discover that she was fatally injured. As I stood beside him, I looked up the hill toward the road. Several cars had stopped and people had gathered. What I realized was that no one else came down to assist. Now that I can assess the situation, I imagine several were talking about how it possibly happened. “Probably going too fast!” “Not paying attention to the curve.” It appeared that many were more interested in why it happened than caring for the injured. 

A similar scene happened several years later when I was an older teenager. After church, I drove my parents home and they allowed me to take the car back to church to pick up some of my friends. Six other boys piled into the car. We were going to a drive-in for burgers and cokes. I drove down a road that would intersect Memorial Drive. The road would end, and I would make a left turn. As I prepared to brake to stop, the brake pedal went to the floor. I had no brakes! It that moment I knew we would cross the highway and go across into a field. What I did not know was that there was a severe drop-off on the other side of Memorial Drive. The car plunged headlong down, turned over several times, and finally came to a stop on the driver’s side.

There were no serious injuries. I always attributed it to there being so many of us in the car that we could not bounce around. Of course, I now know that it was the providence of my God. One of the larger fellows climbed through the window and began lifting each one out. I waited until they were all out before I crawled up to be lifted out. As I jumped down from the car to the ground, I looked up at the roadside. There, like many years earlier, I saw many people who had stopped their cars and gotten out to see what happened. And no single person came down to help us. I am sure that once again they were speculating. “Probably going too fast.” “Bunch of teenagers . . . .”

These two stories are the background for a critical question. What is our response in crisis? How do we react when some emergency or tragedy occurs?

A car accident happens. Do we stand and try to determine who is at fault, or do we go immediately to care for the people? At the tragedy of 9-11, would we have stood and tried to determine how this could happen? Who are those in those planes? Where did they come from? Or do we exert ourselves to assist the victims? A friend passes away and we visit the family. Do we seek to know all the details of why the person died, or do we move immediately to providing comfort and support?

The prophet Buddha told of a young man hit by a poison arrow. The young man began to speculate. “Who shot the arrow? What kind of feathers on the shaft? What kind of poison is on the arrow?” As the young man spent time asking these questions, the shout was heard, “Pull it out lest you die!” Response to the immediate is priority.

Whatever you face, be it evil or an emergency, have an operational response first. That is, don’t philosophize, but respond to the suffering, the need, the urgent! You can talk later about why it happened, or how to avoid it happening again. Responding to need is the theme of this blog! Jesus always did! 

Consider events to which Jesus responded. No more wine at the wedding. He responded. He did not speculate on why they didn’t have enough. The man with a withered arm, a man blind, a man who could not stand up. To none of these did he ask why they were in their situation. He responded to the need. He fed the 5000 men, plus women and children, by multiplying the bread and fish. He did not ask why the people didn’t all bring their lunch! You can look at the life of Jesus. He always responded to the need! It behoves us to do likewise.

Jesus told the parable of the Good Samaritan in Luke 10. A man in need was ignored by two religious people. At last, a caring person got involved and assisted to the needs of the man. Jesus sought to teach us to be involved, caring people. We can not pass by when others need us.

“Jesus said, ‘Go and do likewise.”  (Luke 10:37)




  1. This very morning I was in your son’s office calling 9-1-1 to report an accident involving a car and a motorcycle. I heard the crash from my office adjacent to Lawson’s. I ran to his office to look out his window to see what happened. As I was talking to the emergency dispatch, Lawson walked in, overheard the conversation, peered out his window and he zoomed right out of here. He was out of the building, over the fence, across the road and holding the guy who had been riding the motorcycle before I even completed the report to 9-1-1. What a boss! Then we read your blog for the day…How timely!

    Comment by Jody — February 1, 2011 @ 9:40 am | Reply

  2. Dear Pastor Jolly: It is amazing the power of example, as I read the comment from Lawson’s actions it reminds me of how others are influenced by people; parents, coworkers, people we see wherever we are and to go to church and hear messages, see responses in action, it makes me wonder if people who don’t have any connection with church and wonderful pastor’s and families such as you can possible understand, as the bystanders you spoke of, how God works through people, but people must be willing to respond.
    Thank you again for such a wonderful reminder.

    Comment by Doris — February 11, 2011 @ 2:52 pm | Reply

  3. i love it

    Comment by facebook — February 17, 2011 @ 7:37 am | Reply

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