“Each of you should look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.”
How well do you respond to interruptions? To be honest, as a type A, task oriented, list making individual I often find myself feeling irritated, annoyed, and frustrated when interrupted. I’m guessing many of you can relate.
A few weeks ago however, I was reading in Luke chapter 9, when verse 11 struck me in a new and powerful way.
Let me set the scene for Luke chapter 9. After performing multiple miracles Himself, and sending the disciples out to preach, the disciples returned and recounted their goings-on to Jesus. At that point, Jesus and his disciples withdrew to a city called Bethsaida. Without a doubt, after all they had been doing, a little down time was in order. Despite their best attempt to find a bit of solitude, verse 11 records that the crowds followed Jesus – they interrupted Him.
No doubt weary from all He had been doing, how did Jesus respond to the crowd? Did He rebuke them for chasing Him down? Did he display irritation, annoyance, or frustration because His plan for the day had been interrupted? Not at all! He welcomed them. He began teaching them about the Kingdom of God. He served them by healing those who were in need. Wow – I have a lot to learn!
When you think about it, Jesus’ ministry was largely characterized by Him responding to interruptions in a way that would bring glory to His Father.
Let me ask this. What if interruptions aren’t really interruptions at all? What if they are opportunities in disguise? Think about it. Have you ever prayed something like this, “Lord, please guide me today, open my eyes to the opportunities that are around me. Through the power of the Holy Spirit may I sense Your leading and live today as You would have me.” BUT….then when an interruption comes your way, something that you were not planning on; a phone call, an unexpected knock at the door, a favor asked of you, rather than seeing an opportunity, you are left feeling bothered. What if the interruption is the answer to your prayer?!
I pray prayers similar to the one above…and I also all to often respond to interruptions as just described. Yikes! When I recently read verse 11; however, it was as though I could sense Jesus speaking right to me saying, “Lynne, this is what I want from you! Respond to interruptions as I would. Why? Because they are not interruptions at all – they are opportunities I am sending your way. Opportunities to show love to others. Opportunities to share the gospel with others. Opportunities to serve others and meet their needs. Opportunities to glorify My name!” What an eye opener!
How about you? Could it be that God is sending opportunities your way disguised as interruptions?
How different the world might look if we would choose to see interruptions for what they really are: opportunities to love, share the good news of Jesus, serve others, and glorify God!
The next time you are interrupted, look for the opportunity set before you. Choose to respond as Jesus did. Glorify God through your response. I can only imagine how God might use each of us if we would begin to see interruptions for the opportunities that they really are.