home > Pastor’s Desk > 2021 > March > THIS WILL ONLY TAKE A MINUTE

THIS WILL ONLY TAKE A MINUTE

Have you ever had someone come to you with a request who said, “This will only take a minute!”? I did it this week to a tradie who came to do a quick little job in our new kitchen at church. My “This will only take a minute” actually worked out to be about an hour of Mark’s valuable time (sorry Mark). I’ve to realise that the expression “This will only take a minute” is code for – “There is no way this could be done in under an hour.” A few weeks ago, the 105.3WayFM General Manager popped into my office and asked, “When you get a few spare minutes, could you knock up some more Godspots for us?” (A Godspot is a one minute radio spot for a Christian radio station that takes about 90 minutes to create.) “A few spare minutes!” I thought to myself. Is this guy kidding? But I think Jim has come to know what most successful people have come to know, that when you want something done, always ask a busy person to do it! (I haven’t done the fifty new spots that he needs yet, but I have managed to “knock up” a few.) When I was a young pastor I was completely unprepared for the number of interruptions that a pastor in a church office had to deal with. I was utterly caught off-guard and wondered how I could ever accomplish all that needed to be done. But then something dramatic happened that changed everything.  

 

A THEOLOGY OF INTERRUPTIONS

As part of study program I undertook a few years ago, which involved taking a course on pastoral time-management, there was a requirement to study how Christ responded to interruptions. What I found in my research was stunning. The majority of Christ’s miracles and profound teaching moments were the result of people interrupting Him. For example, consider the time that Jesus sat down for His dinner and had His meal interrupted—

¶ And Jesus went away from there and withdrew to the district of Tyre and Sidon. And behold, a Canaanite woman from that region came out and was crying, “Have mercy on me, O Lord, Son of David; my daughter is severely oppressed by a demon.” But He did not answer her a word. And His disciples came and begged Him, saying, “Send her away, for she is crying out after us.” He answered, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” But she came and knelt before Him, saying, “Lord, help me.” And He answered, “It is not right to take the children’s bread and throw it to the dogs.” She said, “Yes, Lord, yet even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their masters’ table.” Then Jesus answered her, “O woman, great is your faith! Be it done for you as you desire.” And her daughter was healed instantly.
Matthew 15:21-28

While Jesus was God-incarnate (and therefore fully human), there was at least one emotion that every human experiences that I doubt Jesus ever experienced: surprise. Therefore, each time it appeared Christ was being interrupted or caught off-guard, the reality was: He was never surprised and He was always ready for it! While Christ had the advantage of divine knowledge to anticipate such interruptions, we don’t. But what we can do is treat our interruptions the way Jesus did. It seems that He viewed every ‘interruption’ as an appointment made for Him by His Father. And so can we.

I cannot begin to describe to you how much this realisation revolutionised my life. As I then read through the Gospels I became increasingly aware that Christ stayed on course with His mission even though He was continually interrupted by people wanting something from Him. Some wanted healing. Some wanted to challenge Him. Some wanted Him to settle a family dispute. Some just wanted to get a glimpse of Him and even climbed a tree to get it (which resulted in a spontaneous lunch for Mrs Zacchaeus to prepare. In each instance, Jesus treated the people prompting these interruptions as important and valuable. And as it turned out, each of these interruptions were actually integral to His mission! Therefore, consider that the interruptions (and even disruptions) we all have to deal with, may well be a part of God’s plan for us that are not a distraction away from fulfilling God’s mission and purpose for our lives, but might actually be an integral means of us fulfilling it!

From Luke’s Gospel it is apparent how Jesus managed His time and maintained His mission focus while being regularly being interrupted. 

In these days He went out to the mountain to pray, and all night He continued in prayer to God.
Luke 6:12

Jesus intentionally spent time alone with His Father away from the crowds. Down through the ages Christians have considered solitude with God a necessary spiritual discipline just as Jesus did. 

¶ While He was saying these things to them, behold, a ruler came in and knelt before Him, saying, “My daughter has just died, but come and lay Your hand on her, and she will live.” And Jesus rose and followed him, with his disciples. And behold, a woman who had suffered from a discharge of blood for twelve years came up behind Him and touched the fringe of his garment, for she said to herself, “If I only touch his garment, I will be made well.” Jesus turned, and seeing her He said, “Take heart, daughter; your faith has made you well.” And instantly the woman was made well.
Matthew 9:18-22

 

JESUS IS NOW UNINTERRUPTIBLE

As I hope I have briefly demonstrated, Jesus had a knack for being interrupted well. He viewed each of these interruptions as divine appointments which aided Him in His mission. He was, during His days in the flesh, essentially uninterruptible because He didn’t regard any of these interruptions as disruptions. In other words, Christ did not seem to view these apparent interruptions in the same way that most of us seem to. And if you think that’s amazing, then consider this: Christ is now seated at the right hand of the Father in the dimension of eternity with the divine ability to “be with you always” (Matt. 28:20). That is, despite sustaining the very universe (Col. 1:17) and ordering the events of history toward the culmination of His redemptive plan (1Tim. 6:15), He sees you, He hears you. He knows exactly what you’re going through. Put simply, you can not interrupt the uninterruptible God!  

Consequently, He is able to save to the uttermost those who draw near to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them.
Hebrews 7:25

 

CHANGE THE WAY YOU VIEW INTERRUPTIONS

Jesus reaches out to Zacchaeus

When we reflect on the life of Christ we can’t help but notice that He was a supremely important mission but what we may not as easily notice is how often Jesus was interrupted. Out of these interruptions came miracles, moments, and monumental messages. It’s as if Christ considered these interruptions to be divine appointment that actually furthered His mission! For those of who live busy lifestyles and find interruptions to be frustrating, Christ’s example presents an inconvenient challenge. To meet this challenge involves a posture of worship and divinely ordering our priorities. And I do not at all suggest that this will only take a minute!

Your pastor,

Andrew

Let me know what you think below in the comment section and feel free to share this someone who might benefit from this Pastor’s Desk.

5 Comments

  1. LYDIA

    Hello Andrew
    Here I sit. I have just read the “This Will Only Take A Minute” spiel. Where I often wonder if someone can be patient with me, all things considered, it was very encouraging to read that Jesus as focused as He was, used the interruptions He received, where the disciples tried to get rid of the pesky person. He dealt with what ever the need was and would have known anyway as He is that Searcher of hearts and knows us. Tomorrow being Sunday I am going to wear my Zacchaeus Cross, to remind me, if I forget, that Zacchaeus climbed that tree and Jesus said He was gonna come to His house, meaning He planned to have a discussion with him. I am appreciating what comes each week from the Pastor’s Desk, a time to consider, reflect, discover, examine and be encouraged. Just a few adjectives that come to mind.

    Reply
  2. Louise

    Thx for your thoughts and encouragement … after a week of interruptions and it will only take a minute moments this was great to read 🙂

    Reply
  3. Vanessa

    Hi Andrew,

    As a very task orientated person, what you shared today has really spoken to me.

    Thank you for taking “more than a minute” of your time each week to send us your thoughts and teaching.

    Reply
  4. Therese Stepanovic

    Hi Ps Andrew
    Reading about the interruptions that Jesus was faced with during His ministry really puts a perspective on our life and what really matters. Thank you once again, for another wonderful description of Jesus’ character.

    Reply
  5. Wendy Williams

    Thank you Andrew!! A good reminder that every interruption in our lives, is an opportunity to stop, look and see what work God has sent our way to accomplish. The more we look beyond our own frustration, at constant interruptions, the brighter His lamp becomes for our feet to find His rewarding path. And what a gift we receive when our frustration and impatience are put to rest whilst our eyes are opened to His great plans for the future of others He loves.

    Reply

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published.

SUPER SUCCESSFUL CHRISTIANS

Spare a thought for those people who are often overlooked by churches—and if they are Christians—they frequently struggle to even find a suitable church where they can deepen their relationship with Christ. Often we think of those who struggle with life as those who are “down and out” and blighted by impoverishment, or destitution, or ill-health, or family breakdown, or poor mental health. But surprisingly, even those who are seen as super-successful because of their wealth, social stature, public acclaim or amazing achievements, are actually struggling with loneliness, emptiness, and poor mental health — even if they are a Christian. These super-successful Christians are CEOs of large companies, or world-class or national sporting champions, or internationally renowned performing artists, or A-lister actors, or media personalities, or highly sought after professionals such as surgeons or barristers. They often pay a high price for their success, including, long work hours, constant stress, public criticism, extended time away from their families, fierce competition, and strained marriages. These pressures are exacerbated by their constant travel associated with their work which also makes them vulnerable to exhaustion and extraordinary temptations. This is why these super-successful Christians need to join the kind of church that can provide them with the kind of support, counsel, and accountability that every Christian needs. Here’s how a church can become this kind of church.

MAKING CHURCH A WELCOMING HOME

For many people, making a decision to attend a church is a significant and potentially daunting decision. As they come through the front door they are entering an unfamiliar environment. It is also an environment that may be associated with preconceived ideas of what the expectations and rules of the church community may be. These people probably will not know anybody and they might have concerns that relate to their previous or current lifestyle. For those of us who are regular church attendees, it is possible that we may not fully appreciate the challenges a new attendee may be facing. When we can relate to these concerns, I believe we are better equipped to provide a warm and patient “welcome” to what we hope will become their new church home.

LOVE IN ACTION

Physical illnesses and stressful events are endemic in our society. They can be likened to the thorns that cause both pain and damage. It doesn’t take much for them to impact a person’s life in ways that they did not expect. I believe that we can become more resilient as followers of Jesus by applying an appropriate solution to a known problem. I believe that an appropriate and important part of the solution is for us to show love the way that Jesus demonstrated love during His ministry on earth.

THE TOOLS OF REMEMBERING

I like to think I have a pretty good memory.  I like to think I’m organised.  Generally, I am – I don’t double book appointments, I keep track of what I’m doing and when, I mostly turn up on time. But, on reflection, I’m not so sure this means I have a good memory.

TRUTH vs SOMETHING BIG AND HAIRY

“You were lying in your bed, you were feeling kind of sleepy.
But you couldn’t close your eyes because the room was getting creepy.
Were those eyeballs in the closet? Was that Godzilla in the hall?
There was something big and hairy casting shadows on the wall.
Now your heart is beating like a drum, your skin is getting clammy.
There’s a hundred tiny monsters jumping right into your jammies”!

These are lyrics from a song on the very first Veggie Tales video every made. The title of the song?  “God is bigger than the Boogie Man”. Junior Asparagus was lying in bed frightened, and Bob the Tomato and Larry the Cucumber appeared to tell him that he doesn’t have to be scared of the imaginary monsters because, “God is the bigger.” My childhood night-time fears weren’t so much about big and hairy monsters, aka boogie men, or Godzilla in the hall. My fears were house fires – our home burning down, and “burglars” or “robbers”. But I certainly identify with lying in bed, my heart beating like a drum, my skin getting clammy, my imagination in overdrive.

CLOSING THE DEAL

In 1871, the American evangelist, Dwight (“DL”) Moody was preaching to huge crowds each night in Chicago. At the end of each message he would give an appeal for people to either respond immediately to the gospel message he had just presented, or at least go home and consider it. But on Sunday October 8th, 1871, a huge fire broke out in Chicago. It burned through the city for days and became known as The Great Chicago Fire. Around 10,000 people were homeless as a result, and hundreds of people lost their lives. Moody was heart-broken when he realised that many of the people who had died were the people who had attended that Sunday night meeting where he had urged them to consider accepting Christ. His deep grief over this tragedy led him to make a vow that he would never again merely urge people to simply consider accepting Christ. From now on, he vowed, he would plead with all those he preached to – to immediately turn away from their sins and turn to the Saviour. DL Moody committed his life and ministry as an evangelist to be someone who would always strive to close the deal because he was now aware—more than ever—that people’s eternal destinies were in jeopardy! 

BUILDING A MOODY CHURCH

The three things that make the Christian life exciting and enthralling are the same three things that enable a believer to develop a closer relationship with God. The combination of these supernatural gifts gives the child of God an awareness that there is more, much more, to this world than we can see, touch, taste or feel. When the Christian’s faith is grounded and buttressed in God’s Word, godly prayer, and God’s house he or she flourishes. But there are forces at play that are determined to stop the believer from reaching their spiritual destiny. While we might think these enemy forces only use the fiery darts of doubt to hinder the believer’s journey to glory, there is something that they successfully use far more often: our mood. This is why, for any church to be successful, it must discover how to build moody church.

PRAYING PRAYERS

The amazing thing about prayer, is that nearly everyone does it – but hardly anyone thinks they do it well. If you visit any Christian bookstore you will notice that the largest display of books is about prayer. And it’s not just Christian bookstores where you’ll find books on prayer. Regular bookstores also sell a wide range of books on prayer (even if they do classify them as books on ‘meditation’!). One of the most frequently searched questions on Google is, “How to pray” (which then points enquirers to over 2.3 billion web pages answering their question). But in all of human history – and two thousand years before anyone but one had ever heard of Google – there was just One person who was supremely qualified to answer this question. And fortunately for those of us who really want to know the answer to this question (without having to peruse more than 2.3 billion web pages!) He gave us the answer.

WHY SOME BELIEVE

Why is it that two people can look at exactly the same evidence and can come to completely different conclusions about it? Even more puzzling is how two equally qualified scientific experts can look at the same data and utterly disagree about what it means. This happens many times in court cases where the prosecution will call their “expert witness” to give his or her professional opinion to verify that the defendant is guilty only to have the defence to present their “expert witness” who gives his or her professional opinion as to why the prosecution’s expert witness was wrong and to prove that defendant is innocent! This at least illustrates why it is not always the quality of the evidence that leads a person to accept or reject a claim. This especially apply to the claims that Jesus Christ made. Of the four accounts in the New Testament written about His life, three of them were written by eye-witnesses and the other one (Luke’s) was written by someone who interviewed many eye-witnesses. It is with interest that we turn to the last one to be John’s Gospel, where he describes dramatic proofs that Jesus was who He claimed to be. Yet despite these otherwise inexplicable proofs that at times thousands of people witnessed, many still wouldn’t believe. But it seems among those who did believe they all had one thing in common.

UNPACKING CHRISTIANITY

home > Pastor's Desk > 2022 > JUNE 3rd > UNPACKING CHRISTIANITY UNPACKING CHRISTIANITY I have a thing for bags. Not shopping bags or lady’s handbags, but manly bags - functional bags. A few years back I became fed-up with the number of bags I was...