A Life Too Busy to Live

 In Better Life, Overwhelm

A study done in the 1970s included 40 students from the Princeton Theological Seminary. They were asked to deliver a sermon on the parable of the Good Samaritan. They were told that they would walk across campus to another building where their sermon would be judged by their supervisors. Unbeknownst to the students, they were divided into three groups.

  1. The first group was told, “You’re late. They were expecting you a few minutes ago. You’d better hurry.”
  2. The second group was told, “The assistant is ready for you. Please go right over.”
  3. The third group was told, “It’ll be a few minutes before they’re ready for you, but you might as well head over. If you have to wait, it shouldn’t be long.”

In case you don’t remember, the story of the Good Samaritan is about a traveler who was robbed, beaten, and left half-dead by the side of the road. Two religious men passed the injured traveler and failed to notice him. But a third man, a Samaritan, who would be expected to despise the Jewish traveler, stopped and helped him. He felt empathy for the man despite their differences in beliefs or religion.

What happened with the three groups of seminary students in the study? In their journey across the campus, each student encountered an “injured traveler” who appeared destitute and sick, coughing while slouched over by the side of the road. In the highly rushed group 1, only 10% of the students stopped to help. In the intermediate rushed group 2, 45% stopped. And in the least rushed group 3, 63% stopped.

Why did so many of the rushed theology students fail to take the time to offer help? Were they more interested in their sermon than caring for others? Or is it that feeling rushed overshadowed their values, causing them to make choices incongruent with their beliefs?

Could our current busy lifestyles be overshadowing our ability to offer help? To be kind? And maybe our busyness is not only interfering with how we treat others, but also how we treat ourselves. How often do you feel too busy to take time to care for yourself? What choices have you made that have created this level of rushing?

Have you created a life that you’re too busy to live?

Recommended Posts