Graduation, final exams, cleaning out your locker, getting a summer job…you’re always on your way somewhere or right in the middle of something important this time of year. It’s one big rush, one huge load of stress, one big event to anticipate after another.
In all of this, it can be easy for worship to become one more thing on our crowded schedule, and for daily time with God to get pushed right off, with late-night study sessions or early-summer sleep-ins. And ministering to other people? Forget it; you’re having enough troubles just surviving the madness!
Now is a good time to take a deep breath and focus on Jesus, noticing that oftentimes, some of his most important conversations and ministry opportunities happened when he was on his way somewhere really urgent and important.
When He was leaving for Jerusalem for his final few days on earth, he was preparing for his journey, about to leave the people he’d been healing and teaching near the Jordan River. Have you ever been there? Getting ready for a big, important trip when someone accosts you with a question or request? Your mind is already on the road, so you give that person the quickest answer or rush through the request, or often, just say, “Sorry, can’t help you; I’m in a hurry.”
But that’s not what Jesus did when the wealthy young man approached him with a theological question with a complicated answer (starting in Mark 10:17). “Good teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” he asked. First, Jesus addressed the fact that the man had called him good (“Only God is good.”) Then, he went through Moses’ commandments as the current path to eternal life. When the man said he knew those and had kept them, Jesus stopped, looked at the man, and loved him.
Did you catch that?
Jesus had been ministering to these people in Judea, and he was done. He was ready to move on, to start his trip to Jerusalem. But he stopped, looked at this young man, and loved him. And he gave him yet another answer to his question, the tough answer. Not only that, but after the young man walked away, Jesus turned to his disciples and gave a short lesson on the young man’s response.
Another time, Jesus was rushing to the scene of a health emergency (starting in Luke 8:42). A young girl was dying, and her father asked Jesus to come save her. The crowds pressed all around, preventing Jesus from moving quickly. We’ve all been there, right? You’re in a major hurry to get somewhere, and then you hit a huge traffic jam. Ugh!
But Jesus sure didn’t get a case of pedestrian rage. Instead, he felt the furtive touch of a woman seeking healing. And he stopped and asked, “Who touched me?” Peter, always quick to express himself, basically said, “Are you kidding, Master? People are touching you on all sides!” But Jesus stopped, and told the woman, “Your faith has made you well. Go in peace.” This interruption seemed to have cost Jesus: Just then, a servant came to tell the young girl’s father that she had died. But that was no obstacle to Jesus. He was still able to accomplish his task, in His own good time.
When someone needs our help, it doesn’t matter where we’re going or what we’re doing: these opportunities are rare, and we must take them (Galatians 6:10). Let yourself be interrupted with the questions and requests of others. These are your opportunities to serve, no matter how busy you are.