not just passing through

Dear Motley Crew,
 
I like people and enjoy being around others. However, by nature, I’m also a task-oriented person who enjoys a small feeling of accomplishment when I get something done-when I write a sermon, respond to an email, lead a Bible study, or finish a meeting. Of course, there’s nothing wrong with tasks or wanting to get things done, but if I’m not careful, my obsession with tasks can make me miss great opportunities for ministry.  
 
This week was a busy week (as most of them tend to be!). But along the way two different people approached me, while I was working on tasks, to ask for prayer and counsel because of some personal challenges they’re facing. These Spirit-filled conversations ended up becoming my two favorite moments this week. It’s funny. I’ll eventually forget what tasks I was working on when these two people approached me, but I don’t think I’ll ever forget these conversations.
 
When I survey the gospels, I’m reminded of how Jesus created space for interruptions and never allowed tasks to get in the way of people.
 
One of my favorite stories in Luke (the gospel we’re focusing on in our current preaching series) is when Jesus offers ministry to a wayward tax-collector named Zacchaeus. At the beginning of the Zacchaeus story, Luke notes,  “He [Jesus] entered Jericho and was passing through it” (Luke 19:1). Notice that phrase “passing through it.”
 
In other words, Jericho (Zacchaeus’ home village) was not Jesus’ final destination. Jesus was just passing through the area on his way somewhere else. Still, the fact that he was passing through didn’t stop the Son of God from recognizing Zacchaeus and offering the broken man grace-based acceptance and ministry. Indeed, as Luke reminds us, Jesus cleared his schedule that day and stayed at Zacchaeus’ home (Luke 19:5). A trip to somebody’s home wasn’t on the agenda, but Jesus made time for it. Had Jesus been too consumed with what he was doing, he likely would have missed that opportunity for ministry.
 
May none of us be so consumed with what we’re doing that we miss the people around us — people who are hurting and broken — and fail to minister to them!
 
How are you making space for interruptions today?
 
Blessings,
Chris
 
p.s., See you in worship this weekend as we continue our journey through Luke that we’re calling Including the Excluded. We’ll be looking at one of the most controversial passages in the gospels-Jesus’ ministry with an “immoral” woman in Luke 7:36-50. Check out this story and then come to worship on Saturday or Sunday as we explore it together!