We must choose to be interrupted
Part of learning to follow Jesus, is choosing to allow our lives to be interrupted.
When I get in my car, I find myself driving to get to my destination as fast as possible. I don’t like road blocks, detours and slow drivers. As you know, our culture demands we live lives that are fueled by pressing agendas and schedules. As we witness the obvious tides of change in our churches, culture and society — we are faced with a choice in our churches and as individuals. Ironically, it’s the same choice that every generation of followers of Jesus have been asked to make.
That question of choice can be worded several different ways. The age-old question is merely, “As followers of Jesus, how serious are we going to be about our mission?” It’s a question of agenda and schedule. It’s simply a question of choosing to allow our lives to be interrupted by others.
In the Bible story found in Luke 18:35-42, we see Jesus walking to Jericho. There is a blind bum sitting on the road. The crowd gets sight of Jesus and they are in some sort of hustle and uproar. The blind bum can’t see what is happening, he can just hear and sense the noise of the crowd. He started asking those around him what was happening. When he finally got through to someone, they told him Jesus the Nazarene was headed this way. So, he just starts passionately yelling out for Jesus.
He started yelling for Jesus to have mercy on him. He was competing with the hustle, uproar and noise of the audience. There are people around him that are annoyed with his level of enthusiasm, so they tell the bum to more or less shut up. However, this only fuels him to speak louder. Jesus continues to push through the crowd and then he hears this guy calling out. He orders that this individual be brought to him. As the man was coming closer, Jesus responded to the man and said, “What do you want me to do for you?”
Obviously, the man is blind and probably has become defined by his disability and it is in fact why he was now a beggar. He could have wanted a lot of things from Jesus. However, the man simply says he wants his eyesight. He wants to see. Jesus responds by telling the man “All right, receive your sight! Your faith has healed you.” Then, instantly the man could see and he followed Jesus, praising God. Those around them who saw it too also began to praise God. Jesus chooses to live what he teaches and allows the needs of someone to interrupt his day, despite his travels, schedule and agenda.
We’ve become great at continually naming the things we do that are at odds with following Jesus, we can successfully name the things that prevent us from fully living out our mission and we can professionally make excuses on why we can’t do it like Jesus did. However, recognizing or justifying our differences and failures is not the same as making the choice to live out our mission.
I had a friend in the music industry who went to a really respectful music school in Florida. When he came out, he thought he knew everything there was. The problem is, he had never actually done the stuff he learned. While he was at college learning how things work, I was out being part of the way things work. I had made a choice to work from the ground up. He had made a choice to learn how things work from the ground up. As I reached the peak of my experience in the music industry, I was mostly satisfied when I looked at where I started. A few years later, he was still trying to get himself started at a level above where I was, but with no ground experience. We can have all the head knowledge and information we want, but we are not living it out till we make the choice to put both hands to the plow and push through the mess from the bottom up.
Where will you allow your life to be interrupted to actually do the stuff we are called to?
Start simple. Jesus said the call that hinges everything together in the life of a follower of Jesus, is our ability to Love God and love our neighbor as ourself. Loving others isn’t always natural. Sometimes, these opportunities take extended resources and time.
So, becoming intentional about loving others as we love ourselves becomes about allowing ourselves to be interrupted for the good of others. Sure, there will be some good things we like doing (or need to do) we will have to let go of, or forced to find a way to readjust those things so we can call ourselves to that which is most important. Overall, it’s going to mean that today you need to allow your life to be interrupted (as Jesus did by the blind beggar) for the physical good of others. This is what it means to love your neighbors as yourself.
- How are you going to live out your choice today, to follow Jesus in loving God and your neighbors?
- What will you let go of or readjust today, to develop this space for others?
- Today, how will interrupt your busy agenda for the physical good of others?
Jeff McLain is the Chuck Taylor-wearing associate pastor at East Petersburg (Pa.) Mennonite Church. He is intentionally creative about missional community and finding ways to love his neighbor and neighborhood in Lancaster. He loves adventure, baseball and used to tour, but now enjoys promoting events locally. He blogs at jeffmclain.com, where this originally appeared.
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