By Brent Sinclair – Associate Pastor – Adult Ministry
“We pardon this interruption to bring you the following news…” Sound familiar? We have had our share of interruptions the last few months on a variety of fronts, but I want to specifically address a simpler form of interruption. Namely human.
Each of us have daily tasks to perform in a pursuit of a mission of some sort. Most often these involve being with and working with people. So, interruptions with people around us at home or work are usual and common. That being the case why are interruptions so difficult to deal with?
“Blink.” While writing this part of the blog, I was interrupted by someone setting off the security alarm system at the church building and had to stop and go check it out.
How do you view interruptions? The one I just experienced set me back about 30 minutes. Interruptions seemingly throw us off track of our mission or at least task, they consume time and absorb our power. Or so it seems at first glance.
We openly acknowledge interruptions will happen. we just don’t know when. Therefore, we are not ready or prepared for them. Or in a weird sense, we continue our routines as though they don’t exist.
What would happen if we viewed them differently; anticipated them, actually planned for them, perhaps even embraced them as potential divine appointments?
What if part of our mission was to be interrupted, or at least allow for interruption?
What lies beyond the next interruption?
Jesus experienced many interruptions. How did He deal with them? I am particularly drawn to the story of the Roman Centurion in Matthew 8:5. Who would expect to see an officer in the Roman Army ask Jesus for a miracle. Jesus, being Son of God isn’t someone you would expect to be blindsided with an interruption. Did He see this one coming? Whether He divinely knew this was coming or His human intuition saw it coming or it was totally unexpected, Jesus still had to deal with it. So how did He?
“When Jesus had entered Capernaum a centurion came to him, asking for help. Lord, he said, my servant lies at home paralyzed suffering terribly.” Matt. 8:5
How would you have handled this? In Matthew’s gospel, Jesus clearly states His mission is to “seek and save the lost” Matt. 19:10. However Matthew 10:6 and 15:24 specifically state his primary mission was to “the lost sheep of Israel”, and further clarified by the Apostle Paul in Romans 1:16 “first to the Jew, then to the Gentile“. So, enter the Gentile Roman officer. For many of us the response would have been easy, “Sorry, this miracle is not in my primary mission statement, let me give you the business card of my associate Paul, err he hasn’t quite set up shop yet so you might have to wait a bit.” A correct response, but not the one Jesus gave.
“Jesus said to him, shall I come and heal him? The centurion replied Lord I do not deserve to have you come under my roof. But just say the word and my servant will be healed…When Jesus heard this, he was amazed and said to those following him, truly I tell you, I’ve not found anyone in Israel with such faith. I say to you that many will come from the east and the West and will take their place at the feast with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in the Kingdom of heaven.” Then, Jesus said to the centurion, Go! Let it be done just as you believed it would. And his servant was healed at that moment”. Matthew 8:7-13
Given the outcome of this story, would it be fair to say this interruption marked a watershed moment in clarifying the mission? This interruption didn’t slow down the mission of Jesus; it personified it – first to the Centurion (and his whole cohort), to Jesus’s new disciples and even now to us two millennium later. Further, what better lesson of faith from someone who was viewed undesirable from the religious establishment. Ever wonder how the Roman empire succumbed to Christianity?
The fact is, from our perspective, we have no way of knowing how interruptions are going to shake out. What is beyond the appearance of your next interruption? Is it a divine appointment or just an untimely event?
“Blink.” Excuse me the phone is ringing, and I need to take this call…
Our mission at Covenant Grove is to work with God’s Holy Spirit to TRANSFORM RELIGIOUS AND IRRELIGIOUS PEOPLE INTO FULLY DEVOTED FOLLOWERS OF CHRIST. Interruptions welcome.