Have you ever noticed that an emptier schedule leaves space for generosity, kindness, and empathy?
Recently, I came across a fascinating Princeton study that was done in the 70s. Basically, they tested the parable of the Good Samaritan. They recruited seminary students for what they called a “study on religious education.”
First, each student was given a questionnaire about their religious beliefs to test how those beliefs might correlate to their actions. Next, they gave students one of two possible assignments: prepare a sermon based on the Good Samaritan or prepare a presentation about seminary jobs.
They then told the students they needed to go to another building to complete their assignments and sent them on their way at varying levels of hurriedness. Anywhere from, “You’ve got plenty of time” to “You’re going to be late! Get going!” On the way to the second location, each the students encountered a man slumped in an alleyway who was moaning and coughing.
What do you expect they learned from this study?
I know what I expect. I expect that the students who had a true saving faith in Jesus Christ and a committed Christian walk would be more likely to help that man in the alley. I expect the students preparing to teach on the Good Samaritan would choose to be Good Samaritans themselves. I mean obviously, right?
You know what I didn’t expect? That the level of hurriedness was the single most important variable in whether or not someone chose to stop and help that man.
According to the study, “[A] person in a hurry is less likely to help people, even if he is going to speak on the parable of the Good Samaritan. (Some literally stepped over the victim on their way to the next building!).”
I can be too busy to act like Jesus even when I am thinking about Jesus.
I need to embrace emptiness in my own life in order to make room for the hurting. I need to slow down enough to have time to help. Who knows how many people I have stepped over on the way to church or bible study or some other good Jesusy thing? Embracing the emptiness makes room for living the Gospel in real life.