Have you heard about the psychological study of the seminary students and the Story of the Good Samaritan?
Researchers had seminary students prepare a talk/sermon on the parable of the Good Samaritan. The students were then asked to go to the next building and deliver their message. On the way to the other building, a man was placed who was slumped, moaning, and coughing. The researchers wanted to know how the students would react to the needy man, especially since they had just been studying and thinking about the Good Samaritan.
Overall, only 40% of the students helped the needy man. One thing the researchers did that changed the results significantly was tell some of the students that they were running late and they needed to get over to the other building quickly. The students who were not in a hurry helped 63% of the time while those who were in a hurry helped only 10% of the time.
One of the conclusions of the researchers was that thinking on a particular ethical lesson does not mean that our behavior would match that ethic. The authors of the study stated, “Ethics become a luxury as the speed of our daily lives increases.”
This study was not done two years ago in the age of mobile devices and social media but in 1973, before the Walkman was even invented!
I love this study because it convicts me in all the right ways. Have I studied something important but failed to live it out? Yes. Have I left others in need because I had more “important” things to do? Yes. Does hurriedness shape my choices and reactions in a negative way? Yes.
We aren’t capable, at least I am not, of treating every moment as a sacred moment but we are capable of treating every moment as an opportunity to demonstrate our love and faith in Jesus. Why do you think the Gospels are full of the miracles, service and compassion of Jesus? It is not just so we can feel proud of this God we serve but so we can have an example of what it looks like to live out what you believe. Without the willingness and effort to act out our beliefs, we really don’t have much belief to speak of.