Wednesday, 6 July 2016

“The Good Samaritan as a management issue”: a sermon (Luke 10: 25 - 37)

(The pulpit area of the church is set up as if it were a business office, the office of the Human Resources manager of Samaritan Software, with a desk, a coffee cup and a pile of papers. During this sermon, I will take on the role of the HR manager of Samaritan Software. As the sermon begins, I am sitting at my desk, drinking coffee and shuffling papers.)
 
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(Standing up) Ah, Ben, thanks for coming in before you went home. Your supervisor wanted me to have a word with you to see if everything’s all right. You know that here at Samaritan Software, we’re a caring company.

We care about our customers. We care about our staff. As a member of our sales team, your job is to care about our customers. As Human Resources manager, my job is to care for you, particularly as you’re an old friend from high school. So, how are things going? …

No, it’s just that, well, yesterday, you came into work three hours late … with no medical certificate … and with blood on your clothing. Is, um, well, is everything OK at home?…

Really, let me get this straight, so that my notes are right: you saw a man on the side of the highway … injured … unconscious … in his underwear … bleeding … probably robbed and beaten up. … Hmm … You did some CPR and stopped the bleeding … bandaged him up … Well, that First aid course we sent you to last year proved to come in handy, didn’t it? ….

And after he came to, he was in obvious pain, but the ambulance was taking ages to get there – as usual - and you decided to risk taking him to the hospital yourself. … You helped him into the back seat of your car, which explains the blood on your clothing, Waiting in the emergency room was a nightmare, but once a doctor was able to see him, you left your credit card details at the desk and came straight back to work. Is that right? …

Look, Ben, I don’t see any problem! You’ve got a few sick days up your sleeve, so if the boss won’t just treat this as a one-off compassionate situation, we’ll just make it a half-day sickie, so, no problems! Besides, Ben, in times like this, Samaritans need to help each other out! …

What do you mean the man by the road wasn’t a Samaritan! …

Well, then, what was he? ….

(agitated) He was a what? … He was a what? … You must be kidding! You’re not. …. And you tell me you gave CPR to a … to a … Ewwww! How could you? Have you no self-respect, Ben? You remember the songs they sang about Samaritans back in high school. … Yes, and I also remember the songs we sang about them. (chuckles) Weren’t they funny? (chuckles) … You know, Ben, you had no sense of humour back in high school and you have less of one now? … Does your family know that this man you helped was a, … was a … (angry) Yes, Ben, I know the word. The man was a Jew, and Samaritans have no business helping Jews. … The next thing you’ll tell me is that after helping your Jewish mate, you volunteered to help some Roman soldiers change a wheel on their chariot.…

(coldly) Look, Ben, we pay you to sell software, not to be the Mother Theresa of the highways. And we pay you pretty well because you’re a good salesman. You’re going to have to decide whether your job is selling software or playing Albert Schweitzer. … If it helps you decide, selling software pays much better.

(a bit more calmly) I’ll have to give you this, Ben. You’ve got guts. No brains, just guts. Here’s what I’m going to do, this time and this time only. When I write my report, I’m not going to mention that this man on the side of the road was Jewish. As far as my records are concerned, people can think the man you helped was another Samaritan, and far as the boss is concerned he was another Samaritan. Deal? …

Good idea, Ben. You’ve just saved your job. The boss isn’t anywhere near as tolerant as I am.

Anyway, Ben, it’s time to go home. Give my best to your wife and kids. See you later. …

(takes drink from coffee cup) I won’t tell this to Ben, but I wish I had his courage.

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