What’s my question?

June 16, 2009 — Leave a comment

I’ve been looking at the parable of the good Samaritan in Luke 10. It’s such a familiar story but a few things really struck me as I read it this time.

1. A great question
The first thing was the question the religious expert asked. Coming right at the beginning of the story, I’ve always skated over it. But when you think about it, it’s a great question:
How can I live forever? How can I avoid death? How can I have a full, abundant life [since one assumes that eternal life is not some meager existence]?

And what’s the answer to this great question?
Love the lord your God with all your heart, soul, strength, mind. [and I think loving God means to seek His glory, His praise, to work for His will, to orient my life to Him.]
And love your neighbor as yourself.
If we do this, we will live. We will inherit eternal life. {vs 28}

How wonderful it is that there is an answer to the question. How wonderful it is that God gives us life and wants us to enjoy it forever.

2. Great questions can be twisted by wrong motives. Or– why do I come to Jesus?
a. The expert asked Jesus the question to test him [vs 25] He didn’t need or want an answer. He already knew what he thought.
b. Then he asked Jesus exactly what he meant, because wanted to justify himself. {vs 29} That’s a sharp contrast to another way of approaching God, the desperate “have mercy on me a sinner” approach {Luke 18:9ff].

The questions I ask–and why I ask them– reveal my heart. They expose what I worry about, what I care about. For the expert, his questions came out of desire to test Jesus and then justify himself.

So what is my question for Jesus? And what does it reveal about my heart?
I have lots of questions, some that seek to justify myself, some that reflect a complaining spirit in me. But I want my question to be: How can I please God? How can I bring praise and glory to Him?

3. A good question: Do I act out of heart mercy or religious requirement?
The expert in the law wanted to parse Jesus’ answer. “What exactly do I need to do?” He wanted to be sure of what was required. The problem with requirements is that it’s so easy to turn them into a ‘just enough to pass’ approach.

In contrast, the Samaritan in Jesus’ story responded to need. He wasn’t fulfilling a requirement. His mercy came out of his heart, not his head. Enough said.

Lord, help me to develop a heart of mercy, and a life of acting merciful.

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