Posted by: mikenicholsblog | July 3, 2017

notice — like Christ did

Has the following scenario caused conflicted emotions for you? While focusing on a project, someone interrupts you with the words, “Do you have a moment?” or “Are you busy?”  Internally your emotions scream, “No. I don’t have time!”  But instead, you whisper the words, “Sure. What can I do for you?”  Most caring people want to help others, but it seems that the interruptions of life disrupt our perfectly laid plans.  It’s so easy to build a model for what needs to be accomplished in a day, only to have it interrupted by a myriad of issues and people. It is instructive to view how Christ handled a life of disruptions compared to the frustration of those “Do you have a moment?” minor irritations that we face.

As I begin a new study of Matthew this week, the words of Jesus will be a main focus of my study. His words and actions are invaluable guides as I travel my own journey. Again, from my vantage point, Christ lived a very interrupted life.  I am certain His daily inconveniences would have taxed my preconceived plans . In the next few days, I will read again instances that show Christ handling moments of disruption with grace. It will be as instructive as the other times I have read the same portions of Scripture … but I am praying it will be so in a new and fresh way. The key for me (and I trust you) is to intentionally embrace those God-ordained moments. There are people who need what you and I have to offer, and what we do when interrupted can have lasting impact.

In reading The Rest of God, by Mark Buchanan, words about the life and interruptions of Jesus struck a nerve.

“He lived life with the clearest and highest purpose. Yet he veered and strayed from one interruption to the next, with no apparent plan in hand other than his single, overarching one: get to Jerusalem and die. Otherwise, His days, as far as we can figure, were a series of zigzags and detours, apparent whims and second thoughts, interruptions and delays, off-the-cuff plans, spur-of-the-moment decisions, leisurely meals, serendipitous rounds of storytelling…….

No, Jesus didn’t seem to keep time. But he noticed. So many people along the way—blind men, lame men, wild men, fishermen, tax men, weeping whores, pleading fathers, grieving mothers, dying children, singing children, anyone—captured his attention. He stopped to tell a lot of stories, many of which arose out of, well, more interruptions.”

Christ was far busier than you or me. Yet we become so enamored or absorbed in our schedule and our plans that we don’t —notice — like Christ did. This is not a call to spend our days singing Kumbaya, and missing what has to be done. At the same time, if you and I look at interruptions selfishly, then we’re certain to fail to notice meaningful opportunities given to us by God. We must look at interruptions with eyes which are wide open and with a heart full of His wisdom.

“My whole life I have been complaining that my work was constantly interrupted,” Henri Nouwen said near the end of his life, “until I discovered that interruptions were my work.”  Could it be that the daily interruptions that so often irritate us are moments of great value?  Moments of God-value!

Tomorrow, most of us will spend some time with family and friends, and there could be a moment of interruption. Be sure to embrace the moment … and do what Jesus would do! Happy Independence Day!!

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