Being Willing to be Interrupted
It’s been a long, tiring day. You’re almost to the end of it and you just want to chill – flip on the television to escape to another world. Aw! It feels so good to get off your feet when — just like that — the phone rings. The caller ID tells you that it’s that one friend who always seems to have a pressing issue. Do you answer the phone? Or do you let it go to voicemail?
There may be good reasons to disregard the call. It may be that you need to be able to clear your mind and you had reserved this time for quiet prayer and meditation. You just want to steal away with Jesus. After all, who should take priority over Him?
I think you know where I’m going with this. If we purpose to follow Jesus’ lead, we’ll say a quick prayer — and take the call. Isn’t that what Jesus did? “When Jesus landed and saw a large crowd, He had compassion on them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd. So He began teaching them many things.” (Mark 6:34) He was always allowing needy people to interrupt His plans.
Jesus’ plan had been for the disciples to rest after returning from their preaching mission. He wanted them to get away from the crowds and recharge. But when he saw the crowd awaiting them on the shore, “He had compassion on them” and He changed plans. His “time off” became an opportunity to teach the crowd. And everytime — there were miracles that took place.
The fact is – we are little Jesuses if His light shines brightly in us. First we read that “He is the light of the world” (John 8:12), but He boomeranged that back at us when He said “You are the light of the world.” (Matthew 5:14). Like Jesus, we should all get in the habit of choosing compassion. Like Jesus, we should be open to the possibility that some-thing or some-one will come along and disrupt our plans. Jesus’ example for us is to stay flexible and open to the Holy Spirit, no matter what we have planned or scheduled for any day. It’s this openness of heart that allowed Jesus to feed the five thousand on His day off, and it’s the same openness that will make us more available to the people around us who need our attention and care.
We all make plans. Our lives are busy, and we often feel annoyed by interruptions. But Jesus wasn’t annoyed. “His heart was moved” with compassion. Our plans should always take second place to God’s plans. It can be tempting to deflect interruptions or brush people aside because we want to guard our private time or finish our to-do list. But if we do that, we could end up missing an opportunity to make a difference—even a dramatic one—in someone’s life.
So go ahead, and make your plans! Just don’t be surprised when God interrupts you with an invitation to love. “Holy Spirit, move my heart with Jesus’ compassion so that I can respond with love at any moment.”