Sunday, August 25, 2013

Sometimes Interruptions are the Ministry... Just Look at How Jesus Handled It

If you’re always available, you’re never available” (Ed Young)

"She came up behind him and
touched the fringe of his garment..." (Luke 8)
I heard from a minister one day, he observed that sometimes “interruptions are the ministry.” In the book, Before Burnout, the authors point out that Mark’s Gospel provides many examples of Jesus handling interruptions well. After he healed a man with an unclean spirit (Mark 1:21-26), Jesus was suddenly interrupted by an entire city who demanded His attention (1:33). He was then interrupted in the midst of His teaching by four men carrying a paralyzed man (2:1-5)… Later Jesus was pursued and interrupted by a large multitude (3:7-9). At one point, after being interrupted by Jairus, Jesus was almost immediately interrupted again by a woman with a long-term illness. The Savior compassionately handled all of those interruptions well.

A study of the way Jesus handled these kind of interruption can teach us several things:

1.     Christ always responded graciously. He never conveyed the attitude that people did not have a right to interrupt Him.
2.     He made people a priority. For the most part, those who interrupted Him were not prominent individuals, yet Christ treated them as important.
3.     Although frequently interrupted, Christ did not allow those interruptions to deflect Him from His ultimate purpose. For example, after dealing with the woman with the issue of blood, Jesus immediately went on to raise Jairus’ daughter.
4.     On occasion, the Savior actually initiated an interruption Himself. He interrupted His teaching of the multitude to call Levi the tax collector to follow Him.
5.     Fifth, when important priorities made it necessary, Christ isolated Himself from interruptions.

Learn to handle interruptions in a Christ-like fashion,” says the authors, “will take us a significant distance down the road of handling life’s circumstances.”

a)       Frank Minirth, Don Hawkins, Paul Meier, Chris Thurman, Before Burnout
(Chicago: Moody Press, 1990), 151-152.
b)       Robert J. Morgan, Preacher’s Sourcebook of Creative Sermon Illustrations (Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 2007), 474-475.
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