Luke 10:25-29: “And behold, a lawyer stood up to put him to the test, saying, ‘Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?’ He said to him, ‘What is written in the Law? How do you read it?’ And he answered, ‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself.’ And he said to him, ‘You have answered correctly; do this, and you will live.’ But he, desiring to justify himself, said to Jesus, ‘And who is my neighbor?’”

Jesus confirmed that the lawyer’s conclusion for inheriting eternal life was correct. Now, I’ve thought many times, why didn’t the lawyer leave it alone? Why ask the next question? Pride and self-righteousness can make it hard for us to keep our mouths shut at times.

Thanks to the lawyer’s next question, Luke chapter 10 records two stories of a few busy people, to teach us some important lessons about the Great Commandment.

First was the Parable of the Good Samaritan. This is the story of the two religious leaders, who were too busy to stop and help the neglected man lying on the side of the road.

Second was the story of Mary and Martha. This story tells how Martha was too busy working in the kitchen for Jesus, to merely stop and be with Jesus.

Jesus instructs us to never be too busy to stop and love God or to stop and love people.

Mark Batterson, pastor of National Community Church in Washington DC, tells the story of a Good Samaritan Study performed by Princeton University. Here is a brief account of that story: Two psychologists did an experiment with the story of the Good Samaritan. They asked seminary students why they went into ministry. The vast majority said, “To help people.”

Then they asked half the class to prepare a sermon on the Good Samaritan and the other half to prepare a sermon on other topics. Later they were told to go over to another building to present their sermons. But, along the way they strategically placed an actor to play the part of a man who had just been mugged. The teachers assumed that the ones who just prepared the Good Samaritan sermon would be the ones that would stop to help. But that was not the case, due to one more variable they added to the study.

The final variable was this: With some of the students the instructor looked at his watch and said, “You are late, they were expecting you a few minutes ago, you better hurry up”. And to others they said, “You are early, they are not expecting you for a few minutes, but why not start heading over now?”

The results were startling, only 10% of those who were in a hurry stopped to help, while 63% of those who were not in a hurry stopped to help. The conclusion of the study was this: It did not matter what sermon they prepared or what reason they went into ministry. All that mattered was whether they were in a hurry or not.

The Lord’s Great Commandment is simply to love God with all your being, and to love other people as you love yourself. The first half of the commandment has to do with us being who God wants us to be. The second half is about doing what God wants us to do.

We should never be too busy to STOP and Be or Do for the Lord.

Brian Eno's Blog

brian [dot] eno [at] oregonag [dot] org (Brian Eno)
Director of Next Generation Ministries