The Great Question


A dedicated teacher wanted his students to utilize the material he was teaching them. Too many students were just learning the correct answers so they could pass his course, without any desire of using this information after they had finished the course. This teacher decided to make a test so the students who were really listening to him would get high grades. And those who were there just for the grade, would not be able to pass this test, nor this class. 


The teacher told his students on the first day of class to be prepared for an exam which could be given at any time. And this one test would determine the student’s grade for the entire class, determine whether they passed or flunked the course.


Some of the students enjoyed this class, kept up with the lectures and assignments, so they were prepared at any time for the test. But many other students believed the test had to be given towards the end of the class, when most of the course material had been covered. In the meantime they could have fun, party, and enjoy themselves. Then at the end of the semester, they would study hard, cram day and night, so they could pass the test.


When the class was about two/thirds completed, the teacher unexpectedly handed out the dreaded test to his students. The teacher told the class the test had twenty essay questions on it, and to follow the instructions which written at the top. No one was to ask him any more questions, nor was there to be anymore talking by anyone. 


There was a deep sigh from the class, for most were surprised to get this test so early in the semester. Many had a few unprintable thoughts about this teacher. Some were upset at themselves for not being more prepared. While others quickly began going down the questions, answering those they knew, and jotting down quick notes to use later on. 


The room was soon quiet as the students began working. One could feel the tension in the air, almost see the smoke coming out of the unprepared minds, which were being blown away, as they tried to write essay answers on this extremely hard test.


Then an oddity began to appear. While some students were still struggling on the first page, others began turning their tests in and leaving the classroom. Had a fraternity, sorority, dorm hall, or other group gotten hold of the test and passed the answers out to their friends? If so they were sure a stupid lot. Finishing that quickly would surely tip off the teacher that they had been cheating. They should wait and turn their tests in at the end with everyone so no one would suspect them.


Then towards the end of the allotted time for the test another strange occurrence began to happen. Some students were frantically trying to erase answers, while some others had just thrown their papers up in the air and walked out.


All the students finally understood what was going on when they reached the end of the test. The last question on the test said, “The instructions at the beginning of the test told you to read all of the questions before writing down any answers. If you would have followed these instructions, read all the questions first, you would have read this last question. Which states as follows:”

1. Do not do any of the other questions on this test except this last one. For if you answer this last question correctly, you also understand how you can answer all of the other questions on this test correctly. By listening to me and following my directions.

2. This last question merely requires you to correctly print your name on the blank below and then hand in this test.

3. If you have written down any answers, notes, or other marks on your paper except for your printed name, you have failed this course. For you have never opened your mind to learn what I wanted to teach you. You were too busy trying to do things your own way. 


We will all have one great question to answer when we depart our life here on this earth. Yet we do not know when we will have to answer this question, as we do not know when we will die, or when Jesus will come back for us if we still are alive.


This question is not complicated, nor is it beyond our knowledge, and all it requires is a simple yes or no answer. The question we all will have to answer, the question that answers all other questions about our lives, the question that opens Heaven’s gates or locks one in Hell forever is very simple. Do we love our God above all things and our neighbor as ourselves?  

*And behold, a certain lawyer stood up and tested Him, saying, "Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?" He said to him, "What is written in the law? What is your reading of it?"  So he answered and said, "'You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength, and with all your mind,' and 'your neighbor as yourself.' "And He said to him, "You have answered rightly; do this and you will live." Lk 10:25-28 NKJV+


Those who do not know our God, who have not accepted Jesus into their hearts, will not be prepared for this simple question, they will fail this great test. For they can neither comprehend the love of our God, nor are they able to love Him above all things. 


Believers are always prepared, we will always have the correct answer to our God’s great test. Because when we give up our will, accept the will of our Heavenly Father, He puts the Holy Spirit into our hearts. When we let the Spirit guide us, we become children of God, and will always love our God above all things. And because of this love we will receive eternal life in Heaven.

*Now it is God who makes both us and you stand firm in Christ. He anointed us, set his seal of ownership on us, and put his Spirit in our hearts as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come. 2Co 1:21-22 NIV+

*Blessed is the man who endures temptation; for when he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him. Ja 1:12 NKJV+


When we love our God above all things and our neighbor as ourselves, we have completed all other laws.

*Jesus replied: "'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.' This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.' All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments." Matt 22:37-40 NIV+


When we love Jesus we will obey what He has taught and asked us to do. We will read and follow the teachings and commands in God’s Word. When we will love others as ourselves, we will tell the good news of Christ to all, and gladly help the needy. 

*Jesus answered and said to him, "If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our home with him. He who does not love Me does not keep My words; and the word which you hear is not Mine but the Father's who sent Me. Jn 14:23-24 NKJV+


Love is the goal believers strive to attain.

*But the goal of our instruction is love from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith. 1Ti 1:5 NASB+


Love shows our faith, measures our faith.

*For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision has any value. The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love. Gal 5:6 NIV+


Love makes our faith acceptable to our God.

*If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. 1Co 13:2 NIV+


Love is the greatest relationship we can have with our God.

*And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love. 1Co 13:13 NKJV+


This message continues with The Great Question Epilogue




Short Stories




Copyright 2007, amended 2013 by Ron Borkey

+ NIV Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved.

+ NASB "Scripture taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1960,1962,1963,1968,1971,1972,1973,1975,1977,1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission."

+ NKJV "Scripture taken from the New King James Version. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved."