When I came to Valdosta in 1995, I planned to go to Heaven from here. I have lived through the Willie James Williams case, the black contractors,and the Rainwater Center discrimination. Now, it doesn't matter what happens to me. I have lived a good life, and I will be 88 years old on November 1st, 2017, and I am prepared to die.
I just finished reading the story of the "Good Samaritan." The Priest and the Levite passed by the man who had fallen among thieves, who stripped him, beat him, and left him to die. Perhaps, they were asking themselves, "What will happen to us if we stop by and help him? But the"Good Samaritan" stopped, looked on the man with compassion, then administered first aid, put him on his own beast, and took him to the nearest motel. Maybe he was asking himself, "what will happen to the wounded man if I don't stop and help him.?
That is the question that I have had to ask myself as I have watched, day after day, people come into my office needing help.
While others have asked, what will happen to me, to my job, to my church, to my reputation, if I get involved in this issue? That can never be my question. As a devoted follower of Jesus Christ, I must always ask, "what will happen to them if I don't stop and get involved," whether it is the Black Contractors, or the mistreatment of blacks at the Rainwater Conference Center.
There are preachers and there are prophets. Preachers speak to God for the people. Prophets, on the other hand, speak to people for God. Preachers make people feel good on Sunday about feeling bad on Saturday, but they are no better off on Monday. Prophets, like Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.,who speak to the people for God, ask what will happen to them if I don't stop and get involved?
That is the question that Dr. King asked in Montgomery, Birmingham, Selma, and Memphis. It is the same question that black ministers must ask now. No preacher/prophet who is committed to the principles of Jesus Christ, can ask what will happen to me if I help my people. Instead, he must ask. "What will happen to my people if I don't help them.?"
We must not forget that it wasn't the man who looked like the fallen man, who helped him. It was a nobody from nowhere, a crossbreed, a Samaritan, an outcast, who was compassionate and who helped the wounded man, administered first aid, took him to the nearest motel, paid the clerk for the night's lodging, and the next morning told the clerk that he would be back and take care of any other expenses that the man may have incurred.
It is not always easy to follow the examples of Jesus, but it is always right.