Is your day packed with getting yourself & the kids ready and out the door, getting to work, getting to practice, getting home, getting to supper, getting to laundry, getting to homework, getting to bed so that you can get to sleep and “get getting” again tomorrow? Is your schedule packed so tight that you can’t see who or what is going on around you? Is your schedule made of concrete or Jell-O?
Are you interruptible?
This is the question I ran into as I was “getting at it” in sermon prep not too long ago. I was preparing to preach through “The Feeding of the 5,000” in Luke 9 and read this:
“And [Jesus took the Twelve] and withdrew apart to a town called Bethsaida. When the crowds learned it, they followed him, and he…” (Luke 9:10-11)
The backstory goes like this: The disciples (apostles) were sent out to teach, preach, and heal all throughout Galilee and on their return, Jesus pulled them aside for a retreat to refresh and rejoice in all that God had done as they shared with Him and the others their experience. But as usual, the crowds caught wind of their direction and headed them off at the pass.
Jesus plans and executes a time of much needed sabbath for His apostles after their first “local mission trip” and the crowds sabotage it.
Luke’s Gospel, that I cut off earlier says “…the crowds learned it, they followed him, and he welcomed them and spoke to them of the kingdom of God and cured those who had need of healing.” He welcomed the crowds from whom He, literally, was trying to escape. Then, He served them; preaching of the Kingdom and healing their infirmities and eventually feeding, perhaps, 10,000 people.
Why? Why didn’t He shew them off? Why didn’t He see them coming and head the other way? Why, as He is the Omniscient Creator God, did He plan a retreat He knew would never happen?
Mark’s account gives us a little glimpse into Jesus’ why:
“…he saw [them], and he had compassion on them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd” (Mark 6:34).
Jesus had compassion on the crowds, on the lost, on the saved, on His creatures. These bore the Imago Dei and it was smeared, broken, fallen, and they were in desperate need and His schedule didn’t trump their need. Jesus was more sensitive to the needs of the people around him than His schedule or plans.
He was interruptible.
I had to ask myself, and I pray you will stop and ask yourself, “Am I interruptible? Am I aware of the needs of others? Am I aware that others are even around me? Or am I so consumed with my schedule that I miss what God has put in front of me?”
Let’s pretend for a moment that Jesus forced His planned retreat and sent the crowds packing:
First, the disciples learn that the needs of others come after our own current plans.
Second, thousands of people go home as desperate as they left home when Jesus turns them away; turned off by Jesus by being turned away when they were in need.
Third, the impossible situation of 5,000 (not including women & children) men not having food never takes place.
Lastly, the only miracle, not including the resurrection of Jesus, recorded in all four Gospels never happens. Jesus never feeds the 5,000; perhaps the most recognizable miracle of all.
Quick recap: thousands aren’t evangelized, thousands aren’t miraculously healed, thousands never experience, first hand, the compassion of Jesus, the disciples are left to think that they should place their own needs and schedule ahead of others, and the second greatest flannel-graph story in history never happens.
So, let’s ask ourselves one last series questions: What am I missing because my schedule is so tightly packed? Who is not witnessing the love of Christ or not hearing the Gospel of Christ because I am too busy to tell them as I show them? Am I aware that all those “good things” that have consumed me has become one great big “bad thing” called “my schedule?” Am I ready to drop my plans because God brings me a new schedule for the day? Am I willing?
Am I interruptible? If we are students becoming like our Master then we must answer “Yes, Lord, I am interruptible. Help me see and serve as you did.”
Lord, may we be found to be imitators of Jesus as we hold our plans in an open hand, ready and willing for you take our plans, give us yours, and use us to reflect your glory.