Thursday, April 2, 2009

Interruptions

In the last couple of weeks, I’ve had several different kinds of days. One day, I remember, was a day without interruptions. For one reason or another several staff members were out for the day. The phone hardly rang at all. I was able to get everything on my to-do list done plus some things that weren’t on the list at all. I thought to myself at the end of that day, “Wow, I got a lot of work done today.” On another day (the more common kind), I showed up at the office with a long to-do list only to have my plans derailed right from the start. Interruption after interruption prevented me from even getting to a single item on my list. I thought to myself at the end of that day, “Man, I didn’t get any work done today.”

And then I read the scriptures, specifically, the gospels. I noticed that almost never does a passage in one of the gospels begin, “And Jesus started off for such and such a place” only to be followed in the next verse by “And Jesus arrived in such and such a place.” Almost always, there is an interruption on the journey: a man stops to ask a question, a blind beggar shouts out from the sidewalk, a woman grabs the hem of his cloak. Jesus’ journey is constantly interrupted, and Jesus never seems to mind. He never brushes aside the interruption in order to get back to some more important work. In fact, his actions seem to indicate, the interruptions are the more important work.

More accurately, the people who have done the interrupting are the more important work. C. S. Lewis once noted, “There are no ordinary people. You have never talked to a mere mortal. Nations, cultures, arts, civilizations – these are mortal, and their life is to ours as the life of a gnat. But it is immortals with whom we joke, work, marry, snub and exploit – immortal horrors. Or everlasting splendors.” Jesus was always paying attention to people, and so should we.

And that’s when it hits me, the miracles of Christ rarely happen as Jesus completes some holy to-do list. Far more often these invasions of the divine hand happen in the midst of what might be construed as a disruption of Jesus’ plans. And I wonder, how often do I miss God’s hand at work around me because I’m unwilling to be bothered by an interruption?

Jesus said to them, "My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me and to accomplish His work” – John 4:34.

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