I have a picture in my mind of a room. It’s well lit by windows, and it overlooks a river. In the spring, you can open up the windows and hear the water gurgling over the rocks. There are bookshelves built into the walls of this room, all filled with my favorites. There are a couple of couches in there, too, and a rug across the middle of the floor. Under the main window, the one that overlooks the river, there is a simple, well built, wooden desk.
And there is a door. A big, heavy wooden door that can be closed when I go in there to do my most beautiful pontificating on virtual paper.
Now that room doesn’t exist. Or at least it doesn’t exist for me. And I’m not sure that it should, for as much as I might like the idea of shutting out the world to think and to write, doing so on a regular basis might not form in me one of the most wonderful qualities we see in Jesus.
Jesus is beautifully, marvelously, gloriously interruptible
Take a single chapter of Scripture from the gospels like Mark chapter 5. Jesus and His followers travel across the Sea of Galilee to the region of the Gerasenes. No sooner do they get out of the boat, when they are interrupted by a crazy, unkempt, dangerous, social outcast of a man who lived among the dead.
Jesus has mercy on the man and cast the demons out of him into a nearby herd of pigs, restoring this man to his right mind. Then he’s interrupted again by a crowd of people, begging him to leave their region, so back in the boat they go.
Jesus and His disciples make their landing on the other side of the sea and they are interrupted again by a large crowd of people, presumably seeking His teaching and His healing. But before He could begin to minister among them, He’s interrupted again by a synagogue ruler named Jairus who fell at His feet begging that He come with him and heal his daughter.
Jesus agrees and begins to follow the man, when He’s again interrupted by the crowd pressing in on Him, clawing and grabbing, all seeking something from Him. This interruption is interrupted by a single woman who crept up silently behind Jesus and touched the hem of His garment, and she is healed from an affliction that had lasted over a decade. Jesus pauses at this interruption to clarify what had happened, when He’s interrupted again by some from Jairus’ house, giving the terrible news that the little girl had died during all the interruptions.
It’s interruption after interruption after interruption
Interruptions by crowds, by outcasts, by diseases, by grief – always an interruption. And yet nowhere in this passage do we have any indication that Jesus was put off, annoyed, or otherwise inconvenienced by any o these infringements on His personal schedule.
What a marvelous thing this is – to see the Son of God, the One who was steadily moving toward His death and then ascension to the throne of the universe, to be interrupted by the likes of these. What an astounding thought that this Savior of our souls is never too tired, too busy, to preoccupied, too driven, too overscheduled, or too regimented to be interrupted.
Pause today and wonder, Christian
Let it not be that we should think that we can inconvenience Jesus with our cares and needs. But don’t only pause – embrace the same conviction that I do as a leader. Let this attribute of Jesus give us pause when we become so committed to our schedules that we neglect the interruptions that might lead us to the ongoing work of God. Let us follow the example of our Lord, for this God is gloriously interruptible.
Michael Kelley is the Director of Discipleship at Lifeway, and author of Boring: Finding an Extraordinary God in an Ordinary Life