Every now and then I see a hitchhiker in town. I never would dream of picking one up because I have heard that they can be dangerous; However, in yesterday’s reading Jesus tells us to help the poor.

Now I understand that in Jesus’s day there were no such thing as hitchhikers. My question is this: Are we to pick up hitchhikers? This one has me quite confused. :confused:

How do you know there weren’t hitchhikers? They had donkeys!

We are bound to show charity to everyone, but charity doesn’t always mean giving someone what they request, nor does it mean throwing caution to the wind. You are the steward of your own life and resources. If you lose them you won’t be able to help anyone. That’s not an excuse to isolate ourselves and never take risks, but we shouldn’t make a choice between mercy and prudence; exercise both at all times.

How you get “pick up hitchhikers” out of the Sunday readings is beyond me. “Stop and render aid to an injured person” is not the same as “pick up hitchhikers”.

You should NOT pick up hitchhikers.

There are many ways to help poor people that do not involve endangering yourself.

That’s odd, I thought the Sunday readings were about helping the poor? :confused:

a) Not all hitchhikers are poor. People hitchhike for many reasons. Some are using hitchhiking to lure imprudent people into a robbery or worse.

b) There are agencies that help poor people and you can give time, talent, and treasure to them so that you may help the poor in a way that is not imprudent.

As has been pointed out above, charity takes many forms and endangering yourself by picking up strangers on the side of the road isn’t a good idea.

Jesus sent his disciples out in pairs. There is a reason for that, both spiritual AND practical.

It is all about context. In Beach and ski towns hitchhiking is not inherently bad, in fact many people use that as their main mode of transportation to get to the beach or the mountains and I pick up and did hitchhike many times in my youth.

Thanks for the replies. I figured that picking up hitchhikers was a bad idea.

One must use great prudence (and also note there may be local laws involved).


Generally to be avoided I would think.


Well first off context is important.

As someone once said to me “i know you like to help people but if you stop to help broke down vehicles your going to get killed one day”

Now are you a dainty lady running across a person possibly in need at 1am on a desolate stretch of road?

Or perhaps in the worst street in crime ridden Chicago?

Well then contextually perhaps you shouldn’t help.

Now in my case I am a grown man in my relative prime with combat training ans am typically armed…

So I help everyone :slight_smile:

Then there is always to trust God…

On the flip side of context, I know a woman a dainty lady and true lover of the Lord. She went to help a man, an evil man who intended to lure her to rob her. By the time he got her lured away from prying eyes he balked and confessed his original plans and admitted his need for help was a made up story. He inquired about God and Jesus and we’ll never know but left from her seemingly interested in changing his ways.

So in this case this woman was by the standard of fear “stupid”

But she potentially saved a soul O.o

I think context is important. I’ve picked up people when it is obvious their car is broken down, or if they are dressed in their work clothes and it’s raining or sweltering hot. Even then, it’s a considerable risk. I would never do it with my kids in the car.

  1. Not everybody who hitchhikes is poor.

  2. We are not, per se, required to incur bodily danger in helping the poor. If we were, our LORD would have had the Samaritan of Jericho fight off the bandits.


I figure if they can afford that chainsaw they are carrying then they can probably afford a bus ticket.

Most places hitchhiking is illegal…

It was the parable of the Good Samaritan, and while the traveler had been robbed and was in need, we do not know whether he was poor. The point is that he was a stranger to the people who passed him by on the road, and a stranger to the Samaritan. Jesus tells us that he was their neighbor in the sense that they should have been concerned about him rather than indifferent. We should not be indifferent to those in need.

Our care and concern may, however, be restrained by concern for our own safety.

I recently took a First Aid and CPR course, and we were told that the first thing we should do when we encounter an injured person is to make sure the situation is safe for us. It does no good to try to help someone if you end up in grave danger too. (Then they’ll need to send two ambulances instead of just one.)

I imagine that you would have stopped to help if you had noticed a stranger in urgent need, like someone bleeding or collapsed by the road. You might have called 911, or administered First Aid if you are able. Nothing says you have to stop for someone who looks healthy.

Really? Than you missed an important part of the anagoical message.

If the rule is only to help or give compassion to the injured, I guess we can ignore a lot of people in need.

And so is feeding the poor in some places…

“It is illegal” holds little moral arguement IMO…

The OP is a teenager/college age student with some posting history of scrupulous tendencies who also takes things very literally some times.

This is not Scripture study forum. This is a teenager asking if they should pick up hitchhikers and the answer is NO.

And many others here are seekers. You should qualify your responses when you make them, as not to unintentionally mislead them away from the true gospel message.

It was the parable of the Good Samaritan, and while the traveler had been robbed and was in need, we do not know whether he was poor.

It doesn’t really matter. We should not fixate on categories (poor vss nonpoor; injured vss ablebodied) to the point of ignoring the point of the teaching, that when there is visible need, we should attempt to mitigate it.

Hitchhikers are not necessarily needy.


Some years ago, during a time when I was praying a lot for career direction, I took a drive through Big Sur, south of Carmel, CA.

As the Hwy went down to two lanes, I saw two men dressed in white robes and sandals carrying small bundles walking along the road. They were not hitchhiking, but I was compelled to offer them a ride.

They accepted and got into my car. “So what are you guys up to?” I asked.

“We are just praising God and spreading the gospel of Jesus Christ.” Said the one who took the passenger seat. He called himself “Brother David”. The second passenger was “Brother Andrew”. He said nothing during the entire trip, but wore a beatific smile and laughed often.

I drove them through Big Sur and dropped them off in the town of Cambria on the coast. Brother David and I sung and discussed Jesus and my work situation along the way. My direction became much clearer after the trip.

Three years later, I ran into Brother David walking along the side of another highway, this one 300 miles from Big Sur. He still wore his robe and sandals. He was more tired the second time, but he remembered our ride through Big Sur. He didn’t know where Brother Andrew was. He said he had only met him a few days prior to our first meeting and they parted ways shortly after.

I believe Brother Andrew was an angel. And maybe Brother David as well. But I call them both the “Angels of Windmere”, after the beach near where I picked them up.

Aanyway, I’m not sure if personal stories belong in the “Moral Theology” forum, but this is only my third post, so maybe I can get a little slack.

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