Tuesday, February 7, 2017

"Welcoming them..." (Luke 9:11)

I have an agenda.

A schedule... I have a schedule.

I have goals: short term and long term.  And, required to fulfill those goals and whatnot, is my concentrated time, attention and exertion.  My tendency, as you may have gathered, is to be somewhat laser-focused when I am pursuing these things.  And I have a varsity-level ability to brush other things (or people) aside in that pursuit...  or at least to complain loudly enough as to drive the distractions away.

However, when I act in this way, I am at my worst, not my best.

I arrive at this conclusion because the Person I most wish to emulate — to follow — is none other than Jesus Christ Himself.  And when He had purposed to withdraw with His disciples, away from the crowds, to recover from the demands and needs of others... the crowds followed Him anyway.  In other words:  His ministry did not leave Him alone.  It would seem that the needs of the masses interrupted His plans that day.

Now, I have found myself in similar circumstances, haven't you?  My agenda is clarified, my schedule is set, my materials acquired, my motivation mustered. Everything comes together in a glorious framework destined for maximum productivity. Or maybe all of those things have been deliberately cast aside for a day of much needed R & R.  In either case, I've made my plans for the day.

Then, inevitably, an interruption steps onto my train tracks:
  • A child of mine gets violently nauseous.
  • My Bride's car gets stuck in the snow.
  • A friend's water pipes burst.
  • Someone needs to talk about a passing comment I made that has been bothering them.
  • ___________________________ (Insert your interruption of choice, here.)

When I read in Luke 9:11 that Jesus' response to the annoyingly persistent crowd was that He welcomed them, I am once again struck with just how far I am from being like Him.
My default setting is to view "interruptions to my schedule" as... well, interruptions.  I don't get that from Jesus.  He welcomed them.  He viewed them as opportunities to begin "speaking to them about the kingdom of God".  In Matthew 6:33, He told me that I should "seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you."

So, the so-called interruptions are not that, at all.  They are opportunities.  Jesus knew this, and lived it.  To become more like Him (which is, in fact, God the Father's purpose and will for my life), I need to do what the Apostle Paul exhorts me to do, in Galatians 6:10
"So then, while we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, and especially to those who are of the household of the faith."

My prayer today is that the Holy Spirit will remind me of this realization, always, and that He will give me — and you — the strength to embrace "interruptions" as the disguised opportunities that they are.

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