Who loves interruptions in their busy day?
Oh, the eyes rolling, the face dropping or looking up to the ceiling, and the frustration when we are pierced by another interruption in our busy lives! Might it even cause anger, maybe even an ill-chosen word? I’m guilty!!
At times I am so emotionally driven to my busy tasks at hand that I indeed am frustrated by an interruption. I may be in a rush to complete a Bible study, and receive the e-mail that one of our members is in the ER and would like a visit. I’m busy preparing for Starting Point class and the doorbell rings. I finally have time to work on a home project when I get a call that someone needs help...right now. Yes, at times I am frustrated by the interruptions!
But is it wrong to react negatively to interruptions? After all, I’m doing important things! I shouldn’t have to be distracted by other people and their needs. Right? WRONG, and I know it!
In Proverbs chapter 16, verse 9, we find an amazing lesson: “In his heart a man plans his course, but the Lord determines his steps.” There is a common saying “Man plans and God laughs,” apparently having Yiddish or German origins, but probably a play on this very verse.
Greg Finke, in his wonderful book “Joining Jesus on His Mission”, had this to say: “Are you sometimes irritated by the people who interrupt your day? I know I can be. Maybe now is a good time to stop seeing such moments as interruptions and start seeing them as appointments…appointments set up by God without consulting with us.”
It really boils down to my mindset! How can I be so arrogant and self-righteous to believe that my plans and actions are what the Lord has in mind for me? Yes, we can plan our days, set daily goals, and work diligently on our projects. But we must humble ourselves and be open to what God has in store for us.
Interruptions – appointments set up by God?
Yes, some interruptions seem to not be God-ordained, such as a robo call or someone claiming to be from the IRS to help me avoid being sent to prison. But if I think about it, so many interruptions in my day indeed are God-blessed opportunities to share God’s love with others!
The doorbell rings, and almost without exception, God is giving me an opportunity to share his love with others, even if they are selling window replacements.
I receive a text that someone needs a visit in the ER – should I react to that as an interruption, or God making an appointment for me?
The Mormon missionaries are at the door – an interruption I didn’t want to deal with. But this time, I invite them in to talk about the true Jesus of Scripture. We had an awesome discussion! Yes, God made an appointment for me.
How should I respond to God’s “appointments?”
I confess that I can be so engrossed in what I think I’m supposed to be doing that I fail to seek out and be open to what God may be calling me to do. Each day, God will place people in my journey, many of them unplanned and possibly “interruptions.” Yet, each one of them is an opportunity to share God’s love. Mother Theresa said: “Not all of us can do great things, but we can do small things with great love.”
We all know Jesus’ command in Matthew 28: “Therefore go and make disciples…” According to Biblical Scholars, “go” in Matthew 28 can literally be translated as “while going.” In other words, while you are going through your hectic day, make disciples. We don’t have to dedicate a specific time and effort to be missional, but rather see our whole lives as missional. Indeed, our very lives are missional, if we open our eyes to see and open our hearts and minds to understand how Jesus is working with people all around us, setting them up for our attention.
My prayer is this: Father In heaven, I ask that by Your Holy Spirit You would help me to see my very life, my hectic days, as missional. Help me to be open to “interruptions” as Your way of making an appointment for me, an opportunity to share Your love. In the name of Christ Jesus, Amen!