What question are you ruminating on right now?
That is one of my favorite questions to ask as a coach. Actually, it’s a great question to coach around because it is indicates something IMPORTANT is stirring inside of you and THAT, my friends, is where opportunities are.
I have been meditating on the Scriptural account in Luke 10. It’s the account where the lawyer comes to Jesus and asks him: “What must I DO to inherit eternal life?” We know from Scripture that he was “testing” Jesus with that question but, keep in mind, he was a lawyer after all. And, we all have a bit of a lawyer in each of us.
Lawyers like to be “right,” they have high standards, they are disciplined and like it when rules are being followed. They tend toward being pretty “heady.”
But ... the man has a question ruminating inside. And ... it’s a really BIG question.
A “teller” would be ready to give a long answer to the question. In fact, most evangelists of our day would happily respond with an explanation of the Four Spiritual Laws of Salvation. Interestingly, Jesus doesn’t “tell” him anything. He simply asks the man, “What does the Law say? How do you ‘read’ it?”
A question with a question. Hmm. Why do you suppose that is?
First, if we really believe that Jesus was and is a man full of grace and mercy, we can easily conjecture that He is desiring to answer the “real” question that is being asked by the man. He desires to give the man a real opportunity to find true “Life” in relationship with Himself.
And, since relationship is about relating, Jesus, the Master Coach, begins a discourse with the man. He wants to know what is going on inside of him. If you want to truly “know” a person, you value what THEY think and you WANT to draw it out.
It’s reasonable to believe that, being a man of the law, he probably had been thinking, reasoning and “ruminating” on that question from childhood.
So the man answers Jesus’ question “How do you read it?” and, not surprisingly, has an accurate response. His answer is: “to Love the Lord God with all your heart and your neighbor as yourself.” Wow! Good answer! Jesus affirms him and hints at where He is going with the conversation (e.g., where the opportunity is). He says, “You have answered correctly; DO this and you will live.”
From the man’s perspective, He had the “right” answer and I’m sure it felt good to get that validation. Lawyers love that!
And so the man asks another question. This time the Scripture indicates that he asked it seeking to “justify” himself. Normally when we think of someone trying to justify them self, we think that they believe that they not only know the right answer but that they also believe they are actually living it out. So he asks “And who is my neighbor?”
Interestingly, Jesus does not even condemn his desire for justification. He just responds with a parable. For many in that culture, a “neighbor” would be limited to someone within their own community. In Jesus’ parable, He essentially increases the standard to include those outside of the culture, even enemies, and particularly those in need.
I’m sure the man was stunned by that prospect of the new, higher standard. I mean, for a person with high standards to begin with, that can feel overwhelming. And, for someone who is very “literal” with an “all or nothing” way of thinking and who tries to “do” everything with excellence, it would seem impossible, even burdensome. “How can I treat every one like that? My whole life would consist of taking care of those in need!”
In times past, I felt like this was kindof mean.
But, if we believe that Jesus was and is NOT mean (which I do), there has to be a reason behind what He’s doing. Remember, He’s looking for the relational opportunity.
So why does He make the standard higher? Why does He make the burden worse when in other places of Scripture, He says “My burden is light”? How in the world can we have a “light burden”? I’m sure the man might have continued ruminating after hearing Jesus’ parable (but maybe in a not so good way)!
So what is the key to living with a light burden? I love the visual there because in the culture that the story is set in, the burden is carried by two animals that are yoked together. They are in relationship carrying the burden together which makes it “light.” We simply aren’t called to carry burdens alone.
There is also a difference in the way that the lawyer and Jesus approach the burden. The lawyer is focused on accomplishing the task: what do I need to DO? Jesus is focused on helping the individual in need. It is not a burden because His heart is engaged toward the individual in need. He WANTS to help because He has the heart to do it. In fact, the Parable says that the man who is considered “the good neighbor” was “moved with compassion.” Compassion - That is a heart word, not a head word.
So, by increasing the standard, he hits at the core of the man’s problem and the reason he wanted to justify himself in the first place. He thinks he can and should be able to DO the “eternal life” thing in and of himself. Not possible, especially if eternal life is about loving others that WE may not value so much. We need to be yoked together with some one that has the “heart” and capacity to love in that way. Again, we simply weren’t meant to do this alone!
The essence of the Gospel is “Apart from me you can do NO thing” (John 15:5). Instead, “I will give you a new heart (MY heart) and put a new spirit (MY spirit) in you. I will cause you to walk in my statutes” (Ezekiel 36:26-27, Heb 10:16).
If someone is “causing” you to WANT to do something, it necessitates activity that stirs the causing. You have to be “moved with compassion ” in order to HAVE compassion. You need the other person in the yoke doing their part.
So, by increasing the standard, He is not saying that it’s about having to help every person that has need. It’s not “all or nothing.” We don’t naturally want that and we weren’t meant to be worn out all the time ... to be DOING DOING DOING. What we do need is to allow the Lord to “move” us ... believing that He is at work within us causing us to “will and to want to do His good pleasure.” Phil 2:13
Sound too easy? Well, maybe. Or maybe not?
What must you DO to live in eternal life? Yes, the answer is to Love. And Love requires Heart. Stay connected at a heart level and watch for His moving.
So, the whole discourse is an opportunity to get an answer that is not just “right” but is “Life” and a “Lightening” of “the Burden” - and all this for someone who tends toward the opposite.
Sounds appealing to me!
So, what question IS ruminating inside YOU?
What do you know already? How do YOU read it?
Where is your heart at? What feels doable? What feels impossible like a burden?
What standards are you seeking to live by? Are they heavy? Why?
Where’s your heart at?
Do you feel alone in this?
What do you really need in this moment?
Jesus, this is what I believe, how do you want to take this from my head to my heart? What is the opportunity? How can we do this together?
How can we walk out what you are stirring within?
These are all types of questions that I ask in a coaching session. Sound like something you want to give a try? I would love to walk you through an introductory session. Check out the link above.