Look Again: The Power of Questions September 11, 2014
Do you like to be questioned? As a teenager I vowed to never ask my mother another question. You see, I just didn’t have time in those days of immaturity to listen to a long and involved answer. Little did I know that that vow was a strong bondage within my mind. Without a question all one has left are answers. Maturity brought the discovery of the value of few answers and the life-giving dynamic of the power of the question.
In the story of the Good Samaritan it was a lawyer who asked Jesus the question “Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?” (Luke 10:25) By asking this question of Jesus he invited Jesus into his thought process. Jesus then responded with his own question of a similar kind, “What is written in the law? (Luke 10:26) Both of these questions had predictable answers because the answer was written in the law and the one being questioned was a lawyer by trade. Jesus, after the lawyer recited the great commandment by heart said, “You have answered correctly. Do this and you will live.” (Luke 10:28) The lawyer then moved into a different kind of questioning, one that carried within a challenge to move beyond the written truth to a personal perception of the truth applied.
At this point in the dialogue Jesus ceases to question and, instead tells a story. The unique value of a story is that people of all ages can relate to a story because it is about people’s relationships. The lawyer knew the process of interrogation through questioning but had no understanding of the value of the question in developing a deeper relationship with another. So when Jesus finished His story He asked the lawyer, “Which of these three do you think proved to be a neighbor to the man who fell into the robbers’ hands?” (Luke 10:36) The lawyer is forced to consider people before he answers. It is then that he answers beyond the law, “The one who showed mercy to him”. (Luke 10:37) And Jesus had moved the lawyer out of bondage to the correct answer and into the freedom of the profound question that opens the way to new life. He then said, “Go and do likewise.” (Luke 10:37)
How does this apply to our work in Good Samaritan Ministries. Our portion is the call to “teach My Kingdom.” Do we ask questions of others that we already know the answers to or do we question each other as Jesus did to give new life or, yes, even to receive new life? Scripture says, ‘Whoever has, will be given more, and they will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what they have will be taken from them” (Matt. 13:12) Let’s choose to ask so that we become open to the rich life of learning something new. Perhaps this is what Jesus meant when He said, “ My yoke is easy, my burden is light.” (Matt. 11:30)