Interruptions

Nobody I know necessarily enjoys interruptions. If I could take a poll I’m sure we could compile an impressive list; the phone ringing when you’ve just sat down to dinner; a flat tire; or a sudden thunderstorm in the middle of a picnic, would all undoubtedly make our top ten. Although annoyance is probably the most common reaction to an interruption, it is not the response that Christians should exhibit. It is not being like Christ.

It does not take much looking to find that during his ministry Jesus was interrupted constantly. He was sought out by Gentiles even though his purpose was towards the Jews; people constantly crowded and wanted to touch him, yet he bore it all with patience and love. Everywhere he went he was accosted by people desiring something of him, whether a healing or more bread and fish. You could make a point that this is what he came to do, yet even pursuing his purpose he still needed to pause and allow himself to be interrupted. “Stop, Jesus! Heal our blindness!” “Jesus, come to my house and make my daughter well.” So many wanted his attention that it is a wonder that Jesus was even able to find time to sleep.

But Jesus wasn’t the only one who was interrupted in Scripture. Think of the Disciples, one day plying their trades, and the next, a total change of lifestyle. “And after these things he went forth, and saw a publican named Levi, sitting at the receipt of custom: and he said unto him, follow me. And he left all and rose up, and followed him.” (Luke 5:27-28) I would say that Levi, or Matthew as he is usually called, had his life interrupted and let it be altered for the good. Andrew, Simon Peter, James, and John, all fishermen interrupted in the midst of doing the only thing they knew how to do. Not without hesitation, but not really fighting against it either. You could say they willingly embraced the interruption. The Apostle Paul was interrupted on the road to Damascus in Acts 9 in an episode a bit more dramatic than the other Apostles, but an interruption that converted a persecuting sinner into a preacher of righteousness.

But here let us refer to one more example of being interrupted and this one we may relate to a bit more closely. It is from the parable of the Good Samaritan in Luke 10:29-37. A certain man is traveling but is beaten and robbed. He lies by the roadside and begs for help while people walk by. A Samaritan appears and is willing to be interrupted to help this man, a total stranger. Not merely sidetracked for a short time, he goes the extra mile out of his way to help the traveler, finding him a safe place to stay and medical help, plus giving him money with the promise that he won’t be forsaken. Can any of us honestly say we’d be willing to interrupt our personal lives to such an extent? More so, can we deny that the Samaritan’s reaction to the interruption and compassion toward the traveler was not pleasing to God?

Like persecutions and sufferings, a positive response to interruptions is another of the many ways we can serve and glorify God. Would that we all could be able to pray, “Lord, interrupt me today.”

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