Look Again: Stubborn or Stable? February 23, 2014

What is the difference between ‘stubborn’ and ‘stable? My first thought when I encountered this question was ‘not much’. But as I began to think about it I realized there is a big difference. The stubborn person is rigid an unwilling or unable to consider something new. A stable person is a person who is willing and able to consider something new but from a solid values foundation. So how does this apply to the parable of the Samaritan in Luke chapter 10?

I try to imagine what it was like to encounter a beaten and dying man on the side of the road. How would I handle such a moment? As I look at the characters in this parable I see mostly stubborn mindsets except for the Samaritan. The priest and the Levite couldn’t or wouldn’t consider changing their plans. The robbers, on the other hand, are masters at violently attacking someone stubborn enough to ignore obvious danger to life by traveling the Jericho road alone and laden with valuable items. The Samaritan must have had a plan of his own. What was it about him that was different than the others? He laid aside his own plan for days, spent money that was probably budgeted for other things, and remained involved indirectly after the emergency was over. I see that this Samaritan was a person I would describe as stable. He lived by his values first and his plans second. This gave him a level of flexibility that a stubborn person couldn’t have. If we have this flexibility we can be available for surprising events of incredible importance and develop an ear to hear the Lord for His direction. A righteous man is a man with flexibility. I think of the new laws we have here in the United States that require flexible joints in all new building construction in case of earthquake. Sometimes human need can seem like an earthquake in progress. Perhaps that is how we would feel when happening on a dying man on the side of the road. Let’s pray that we release all stubbornness and seek the flexibility of stable. After all we are called Samaritans. 

– Elsa Jane


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