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You can’t afford NOT to make disciples

March 13, 2016

One of the most well-known parables in the Bible is the account of the Good Samaritan.

In response to the question, “What must I do to inherit eternal life?” Jesus describes a situation where a man had been robbed and left for dead on the side of the road. Two religious leaders of Israel, a priest and a Levite, disregarded the man in need on their journey to the temple, but a Samaritan man, from one of the most hated groups by Jews, stopped, wrapped up his wounds, paid for a room, and nursed him back to health. Some have defended the religious leaders by suggesting their minds were attuned to the religious duties or spiritual matters of the temple, making it difficult to be distracted by someone in need.

The enemy doesn’t just want to make us mad or bad. He wants to make us busy.

In the 1970s, Darley and Batson attempted to recreate the Good Samaritan parable to determine if people would stop and help or walk by an injured man.

The researchers had three hypotheses or speculated outcomes they tested for:

  1. People thinking religious, “helping” thoughts would still be no more likely than others to offer assistance.
  2. People in a hurry would be less likely to offer aid than others.
  3. People who were religious in a Samaritan fashion would be more likely to help than those of a priest or Levite fashion. In other words, people who were religious for what it would gain them would be less likely to help than those who valued religion for its own value or were searching for meaning in life.

The researchers recruited seminary students who were willing to participate in a religious experiment. After initial personality testing, the students were divided into two groups, with each preparing a presentation to deliver to their classmates.

The first group was given the topic of seminary jobs to talk about while the other group was given the topic of the Good Samaritan parable. The only significant variable was that some were told they were late for the presentation as they traveled from one building to the next. Others were instructed they had a few minutes to stroll over to the class.

On the way to class, students encountered a slumped-over man in an alleyway who was coughing and moaning. Participants were evaluated based on a six-point grading scale, with failing to notice the victim garnering a zero and refusing to leave the victim’s side until he got well a five.

Those who were assigned the topic of the Good Samaritan were more likely to stop than those who were given another subject to preach on. However, the significant variable that altered whether a person stopped or kept going was time. Individuals who were in a low-hurry situation helped 63 percent of the time compared to those in a high-hurry situation stopping only 10 percent of the time.

In summary, a believer heading to speak on the Parable of the Good Samaritan who was in a hurry was less likely to stop and help others. Some of the participants stepped over the injured victim in their attempts to make it on time to class.

No time for making disciples

It’s not that they didn’t care about the person. Maybe the reason they disregarded the victim in need is because they were consumed by their own world and their own agenda.

One of the reasons believers aren’t making disciples is because they have no time. Whether it’s true or not in your life, it is a reality we all struggle with. If there were eight days in the week, we might be able to get everything done. People in a hurry are less likely to help others. I have always said, “The enemy doesn’t just want to make us mad or bad. He wants to make us busy.” We make time for the things that matter to us.

Every person has the same amount of time. The problem is how we allocate that time. Either your schedule manages you or you manage your schedule. For years my schedule controlled my life.

What if I offered you $86,400 dollars today to spend on whatever you desire with one stipulation—you have to spend all the money today. What’s left over would be forever lost. You cannot carry over today’s money to tomorrow. Could you do it? Most are nodding your heads right now. “Of course I could spend it.” Amazon packages would be primed and ready for shipping. You may select Purses, PS4 games, iPads, watches, cars, and clothes. The list would be endless in your quest to spend every last penny you possessed.

After a spending frenzy, I show up the next day to proposition you with another offer, “Today, I am giving you the same offer. Here is a check for $86,400 dollars to spend on whatever you want. However, the same stipulations apply. Whatever you fail to spend will be wasted forever.” Could you do it two days in a row? Of course you could. Stock investments, debt retirement, and savings accounts would be filled with money.

Every day of your life God gives you 86,400 seconds. You are free to spend them in whatever way you wish. However, when they’re gone, they’re gone, so spend them wisely.

The great cricket player turned missionary C.T. Studd sums it up: “Only one life ’twill soon be past. Only what’s done for Christ will last.”

Strike while the iron’s hot

Don’t miss an opportunity to launch a D-Group—a gender-exclusive discipleship group of three to five people. You may not be convinced of the necessity of meeting in a weekly, gender-exclusive group for a year to eighteen months. The importance of investing in others was solidified in my life when I understood that there are only three things in this world that are eternal: God, His Word, and the souls of men and women.

The time you invest in others will pay eternal dividends, not only in their lives but yours as well.