In Luke 10, Jesus told the story about a good Samaritan in response to a question by a religious attorney, who asked, “Who is my neighbor?” Some scholars debate whether this was an actual true story that Jesus told or if it was a parable that He shared to make a point. Whatever your personal thoughts are on that debate, I am pleased to report that Sister Kulanda Redden was indeed a “Good Samaritan in Minnesota” in 2022.
Sister Redden is a faithful member of the Ebenezer Fellowship Seventh-day Adventist Church in Minneapolis. After a wonderful worship service at church one Sabbath morning (afternoon to be exact), as the members were leaving an unknown man was spotted alongside the church’s sidewalk just lying on the ground. Upon closer observation it became apparent that he had suffered from a drug overdose.
Immediately and instinctively, someone dialed 911 for emergency services. But without hesitation Redden, who works in the health field, went into action and began to perform CPR on him. Based on her quick actions and by the grace of God, she was able to revive the man and save his life. To God be the glory great things He has done!
What is compelling about Redden’s actions is that even though she and her fellow church members could have simply prayed and waited for the professional paramedics to show up (which would be understandable) and even though God could have worked a miracle in reviving the man by Himself, Redden felt moved by the Spirit to do more than only watch and pray.
She felt compelled by a heart of kindness and compassion to do everything in her own power, and with her skill set, to help revive this stranger lying along the roadside.
The apostle Paul admonishes all of God’s people to walk in the Spirit. The Holy Spirit isn’t available to only guide us into all truth and knowledge of God’s Word. But He is also there to guide us into what we should say and do every minute of every day.
The Health Message we preach and teach as a Seventh-day Adventist denomination is not to just be knowledge-driven, but action-driven. In Matthew 25 Jesus separates the wheat from the tares and the sheep from the goats—not based on what they knew theologically, but how they responded practically to the least of these and those who were in need. I believe that what happened in Minnesota was a child of God recognizing that what she would do for one of the least of these was being done unto Christ.
This story reminds us that our health message is also active, not just passive. As one preacher (Pastor Eddie Polite) told me years ago when I began ministry, “Brighten the corner where you are.”
One of the amazing things we can learn from the ministry of Jesus is that He spent so much time early in the morning hours communing with the Father and the Spirit, so when He went into ministry during the day He didn’t always have to stop and pray before healing the sick or raising the dead. Every move, every action, was Spirit-led because the Spirit was already leading and guiding Him at all times.
We celebrate with Sister Redden who was guided by the Holy Spirit to put her love and compassion into action, saving a life that Sabbath day by being “the Good Samaritan in Minnesota.” It is truly still lawful to do good on the Sabbath.
Pastor Cryston Josiah is vice-president for administration for the Central States Conference.