I don’t know about you but every time I get ready to relax it seems like something happens. I have often wondered if there was some kind of “secret device” that immediately informs people, “Hey, he’s relaxing, now is the time!” Please don’t misunderstand me, I’m not complaining, that’s life and we live in a very busy world. Before our family entered the ministry our lives were extremely busy, having our own business never left us with much “personal” down time. If it wasn’t the clients, then it was the case workers and when they were all taken care of, it was one of the children. That’s just life, there is always a need or something happening. But I’d like to remind us that we are not alone, Christ’s ministry was a ministry of “interruptions”.
In Mark 1:21-26 we see Jesus entering the synagogue teaching with such authority that it brought astonishment but it is immediately followed by the attack of the enemy via the man with the unclean spirit. Yet, that “interruption” lead to Mark 1:33 And all the city was gathered together at the door…followed by the very next verse of healing and delivering many. If we move on to Mark 2:1-5 where Christ comes to Capernaum and when it is told that He was there, we see many gathering to hear Him preach. As He is preaching, He is “interrupted” by the roof being removed, a man being lowered down to Him for healing and Christ seeing their faith forgives his sins and heals his body. This act brought amazement to all and glory to God. I also think of the account of Jairus pleading for Jesus to come and heal his daughter and the “interruption” of the woman with the issue of blood along the way (Mark 5). So many “interruptions” and yet handled with such grace and compassion!
What can we learn from these events in Christ’s life? How can we be effective in our ministry and yet maintain our own needed physical, emotional and spiritual health?
1. Show Compassion
Remember that people are hurting and longing for love, kindness and attention. Looking to Christ as our perfect example will instruct us as to the purpose of our mission and remind us that interruptions are more often than not, opportunities.
And Jesus, when he came out, saw much people, and was moved with compassion toward them, because they were as sheep not having a shepherd: and he began to teach them many things.
He answered and said unto them, Give ye them to eat.
They need to know that someone cares, so return the compassion that was shown to us by Christ.
2. Be Impartial
Christ didn’t show respect of person. The majority who interrupted him were not prominent individuals. James is very straight forward about showing partiality…
My brethren, have not the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory, with respect of persons.
If ye fulfil the royal law according to the scripture, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself, ye do well: 9 But if ye have respect to persons, ye commit sin, and are convinced of the law as transgressors.
If Christ treated all people as important, shouldn’t we?
3. Remain Focused
Christ never forgot His ultimate mission for coming nor did he get sidetracked when things happened. Earlier we referred to Jairus and his daughter, how Jesus was going with him and yet stops to help the woman with her issue of blood; however, Christ didn’t forget about Jairus or his daughter. Even after news comes that she has died, Jesus’s immediate response is… Be not afraid, only believe. (Mark 5:36) The lesson for us is, commit to God the questions we may have in life and keep our eye on the objective and finish the task that has been laid before us.
4. Keep Renewed
There will be times when it is necessary for us to get away from it all if we are going to maintain our needed physical, emotional and spiritual health. Before Jesus began His ministry, Mark relates to us that after Christ’s baptism, immediately the Spirit driveth him into the wilderness (Mark 1:12). Before we begin, before we face the enemy, before we dive into the commission, we must be bathed in the Holy Ghost, we must have that time of spiritual renewal. All throughout the Bible we have examples of God’s
people needing that physical, emotional and spiritual renewing. Elijah for one, needed God’s touch even after that glorious victory on Mt. Carmel. Jesus on multiple occasions sent the multitudes/disciples away so that he could get alone and pray (Mark 6:46). Friend, if Jesus needed that alone time how much more do we? We need to minister but we need to be refreshed too.
The title of this article is “Interruptions Or Opportunities”, my meager attempt is to remind us that often what we may see as an “interruption” may actually be an opportunity to minister to someone in need. As I sit here writing, there is one phrase that keeps coming to me, John 4:4 And he must needs go through Samaria. Brethren, there will be times when we must needs go…it may seem like an inconvenience or interruption but God is always in charge of weaving the tapestry. The Bible Knowledge Commentary has this to say about John 4:4; “In Jesus’ day the Jews, because of their hatred for the Samaritans, normally took the eastern route in order to avoid Samaria. But Jesus chose the route through Samaria in order to reach the despised people of that region.” Do we realize that interruptions and inconveniences could actually be opportunities and appointments designed by God to minister to some desperate soul in need?
My prayer, Lord, help me to remember that “The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord: and he delighteth in his way.” That in the midst of what I may call an interruption, remind me O God “that all things work together for good to them that love” you, “to them who are the called according to his purpose.” Father, help me to trust you with each day, each moment and to know that you not only have a plan for my life, but you are working through me in the lives of others.