Hurry is costly. It keeps us from engaging with the world around us and undermines our ability to care for one another. When we run from one thing to the next, trying to squeeze every ounce out of life, we are unable to respond to the needs around us and we miss the opportunity to share new life through Jesus with others.
A Telling Tale
Two psychologists at Princeton Theology Seminary decided to try a little experiment. They wanted to see if particular conditions would increase the likelihood of people to care for one another. They assembled two groups of students and gave each a different assignment. One group was instructed to go and give a talk about why they decided to pursue theological study, while the other group was asked to share lessons learned from Luke 10:25-37, what we have come to know as the story of the good Samaritan.
To make things more interesting, they planted an actor in the mix. This person would intercept the students as they walked across campus to give their talk. As they crossed paths, the actor would begin to cough, making it obvious that they were in distress.
Here’s the last little detail. One group was led to believe they were running behind and needed to hurry, while the other group was told they had plenty of time.
So, which students were most likely to help? Would it be those who had insights from the story of the Good Samaritan in the forefront of their mind or those thinking about their motivations for studying theology?
There was a significant difference between groups, but it was not along the lines you may expect. The content of the speech they had prepared made no difference. About the same number of Good Samaritan speakers and theology motivation students stopped. What did make a difference was how rushed the students thought themselves to be. Only 10 percent of those who were led to believe they were running late stopped to help. Of those told that they had plenty of time, 60 percent stopped to help.
We can not care for one another unless we create the space.
Many of us wrestle with this reality. We’re busy, running from one thing to the next. And we are doing great things, even godly things! But our constant doing is keeping us from being available to others.
When there is no space…when we are distracted, immersed in our technology, emotionally spent, mentally checked-out, physically tired…we cannot care for one another well.
Creating space isn’t an “add-on” to everything else that we have going on. Rather, it means discerning what things…even good things, we need to stop doing in order to create the space to be available for the best.
How are you doing with caring for one another? Do you have space to be available to those in need or are you busy running from one thing to the next? What might God be calling you to stop so that you can create the space to care for one another?
Spend some time with God as you reflect on these questions. Trust Him as you take steps to create margin in your day. Watch Him use you and provide for you and others as you make yourself available to care for one another!