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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

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EXCUSE ME

The essence of an excuse is the word, no. If we get invited to a party that we don’t to go to and we make a polite excuse to decline the offer, in essence we are saying “No, I will not come to your party.” This is the gist of the parable that Christ told in Luke 14 about His Father who sent His Son as His Servant to personally invite those who had already received an invitation to come to a great banquet. (It’s interesting how Jesus describes His Father’s heaven as a great banquet.) By saying “No” to the great banquet invitation those who were declining this invitation were saying that they had a better offer. What offer could be better than dining with the Source of Life, Joy, Peace, and Power, as His special guest in His luxurious mansion? What happens next in this parable also says a lot about how God feels when people make excuses to decline His offer to dine.

BELONGING

I’m not sure about you, but one of my great wrestles in becoming more Christlike is that sinful tendency to see my time, my resources, my life as belonging to me. I like to control it. I like to own it. I like to decide what happens and when.

God, in His great grace and wisdom, seems to work in our lives reminding us how little we truly control and that it all truly does belong to Him. So often these reminders come in the way of hardship and loss with the call to surrender ownership and control.

If our Heavenly Father was a despotic God, a cruel, tyrannical God who acted arbitrarily and selfishly for His own ends, knowing we belonged to Him would cause us to tremble and live in fear and apprehension.

But praise Him that this is not our God!

Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all His benefits, who forgives all your iniquity, who heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit, who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy, who satisfies your with good things so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.
Psalm 103:2-5

ROOFS AND DRAGONS – THE VALUE OF PLANNING

ROOFS AND  DRAGONS – THE VALUE OF PLANNING
John F. Kennedy once said, “The time to repair the roof is when the sun is shining.”  J.R.R. Tolkien said, “It does not do to leave a live a dragon out of your calculations, if you live near one.” Having a plan is generally a strategy that will help us to get things done, or respond correctly when things go wrong. A plan may help us to find a solution and a way through an adverse situation that we are experiencing. A plan also helps us to know what resources we might need for dealing with situations that we can foresee.

When it comes to thinking about the importance of planning, a statement that is worth considering is one that I like to get my Maritime Passage Planning students to contemplate:

‘The best thing about failing to plan, is that disaster comes as a complete surprise that is not preceded by hours or days of stress and worry associated with the planning process.’

SOMETHING FOR SLUGGARDS TO CONSIDER

There are those who look busy but are not very productive. There are those who are busy but are highly productive. Often these people have learned that busy needs to be managed so that their time is focused on maintaining their important relationships, taking regular sabbaths, prioritising the important over the urgent, and cooperating with others. These busy people have learned to recognise God’s open doors and have confidence that the Apostle Paul had that it is God who gives them supernatural energy to toil, struggle and work to get things done when no-one else thought it could be.

WHAT COVID DID TO CHURCHES’ MOMENTUM

The Covid pandemic and its effect upon Churches has caused many church leaders and their teams to reevaluate what it means to be the Church. This leads into some really healthy questions that challenge what many had previously unquestionably accepted as “Church”. What ‘should’ a church do when it meets together for its weekly gathering (especially if it can’t actually ‘gather’)? How should the leaders and members of a church contribute to the issues confronting society and culture? Or should the Church be disengaged from ‘the world’ and treat its Christianity as purely ‘private’ matter between the worshiper and God? What do the ministries within a Church within a church — especially that of an evangelist — look like it the Church can not actually meet due to ongoing Covid lockdowns? Perhaps several of these questions might never have even been asked if it wasn’t for Covid. But one thing is for sure, the answer to these questions can be found within Scripture and the lessons from Church history and require that we prayerfully seek the Spirit’s guidance as we apply the best answers. Perhaps it will be then that we can build some fresh momentum and reach the current and next generation for Christ.

CONSPIRITUAL CONSPIRACIES

This is why we can have great confidence in the accounts given in the Bible. Two of the four evangelists (Matthew and John) who wrote Gospels were eye-witnesses to many of the events they describe – particularly and critically – the resurrection appearances of Christ. Rather than appealing to a “trust me when I tell you…” approach, the Biblical writers of the New Testament invite readers to examine the evidence for themselves and consider carefully what they have presented. They do not present their accounts anonymously or in an only share this after I’ve died memoir approach. When the apostle Paul could say that the physically resurrected Christ was seen by up to 500 people at one time and that most of these people are still alive (1Cor. 15:6), he was inviting verification of the facts that he presented (and we have no record of anyone ever refuting Paul’s claim). This made the claims of Christianity verifiable and it therefore makes the further claims of Christianity about a spiritual new birth testable and verifiable today.

¶ Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book; but these are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.
John 20:30-31

THIS WILL ONLY TAKE A MINUTE!

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!

FAILING WELL

If there was a ’Year Book‘ for Christ’s Twelve Disciples, which one would have been voted “Most likely to succeed”? Probably Judas Iscariot would have. I doubt that Simon Peter would have received any votes. After all, he had failed and goofed up so many times! But in the end, both men failed in similar ways yet only Peter ‘failed well‘. How he did it should give those of us who regularly fail — and all too often feel like failures — hope that God is able to redeem both us and our failures.

EVEN THOUGH IT’S UNFATHOMABLE, UNSEARCHABLE, AND UNCOMPREHENSIBLE, YOU STILL NEED IT!

Jesus Christ Himself was the ultimate personification of wisdom (1Cor. 1:24, 30), yet He Himself, when He became incarnate, had to ‘increase’ in wisdom. And chances are that if Jesus had to ‘increase in wisdom’ then so do we! In God’s unfathomable wisdom He permits us to learn how to increase in wisdom by learning from our mistake and failures. Yet, there are times when, as James the brother of Jesus wrote, that God gifts wisdom to His children. This may not be a ‘Matrix type’ of human-software update, but it could come to you in way you did not expect in response to your prayer for God’s wisdom where you have a “light-bulb moment”. And when you experience one of those rarer moments of ‘received’ wisdom (where God gives us wisdom), it might be time to implement some wisdom from the life of Daniel, who, when it happened to him, he gave God the glory for it.

SCARED, SCARRED, SACRED

The gospel offers hope and healing for those who have been violated — those who were once scared (for good reason), and who have been scarred by the hurt they have endured — have found redemption and a sanctuary in the sacred community of God’s redeemed.