Too Busy To Love

An ethics professor at Princeton Seminary asked for volunteers for an extra assignment. Fifteen students showed up, and he divided the group into three groups of five each. He instructed the first group of five to proceed immediately across the campus to the student union. If they didn't get there in fifteen minutes their grade for this assignment would be negatively affected. A minute or two later the professor instructed the second group to proceed across the campus to the same place. However, they were given forty-five minutes to get there. After they left, he instructed the last group of students to go across the campus to that building too, but they were given three hours for the trip.

Now, unknown to these students, the teacher had arranged with three other students from the Drama Department to meet them along the way, acting as people in great need. The first one they met covered his head with his hands and moaned out loud as if in great pain. The second, was just off the sidewalk a little further along the way, lying face down, as if unconscious. The third, on the steps of the student union, acted out an epileptic seizure. You know what the ethics professor discovered? Not one of the first group stopped to check on the well-being of other students, two of the second group stopped, and all five of the third group stopped. The conclusion the professor reached from this experiment is that when people are too busy, with tight schedules and impossible deadlines, they often find no time for compassion and love.

Friends, this study reminds me of Jesus’ parable of "The Good Samaritan." In that story (Luke 10:25-37), two clergymen quickly walk by a beaten and bloodied man lying on the side of the road. Instead, a despised Samaritan stops and helps the victim. Jesus does not say why the religious leaders did not try to help the man, but in the Sunday School version of the story, the assumption is often that they were "too busy" to do so.

As a pastor, I sometimes allow my busy schedule to keep me from treating others (my family, friends, members of the congregation, folks in the community, etc.) with the concern and compassion that I should. I also realize it is not just clergymen, but all sorts of people who use being "too busy" as an excuse for not loving and helping people around them. That is never a good excuse! Though there may not be enough time to do all the things we want to do, or to do all the things other people want us to do, there is always just enough time to do what the Lord calls us to do. Let me repeat that: Though there may not be enough time to do all the things we want to do, or to do all the things other people want us to do, there is always just enough time to do what the Lord calls us to do.

Each day we need to ask the Lord to help us use our time in a way that pleases Him. If, when the day comes to an end, we can honestly say we used our time to honor God and help other people, that we were not “too busy” to express our love to both, then it has been a good day. May the Lord help us to have those kind of good days!

Rev Dan Erickson
Chisholm Baptist Church
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Dan Erickson

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