“May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you the same attitude of mind toward each other that Christ Jesus had so that with one mind and one voice you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.” Romans 15:5-6
I had great intentions today.
My one morning meeting got canceled, so I dropped Ellie at doggy daycare. I had my iPad and notebook, which is still my preferred method of writing. My blog needed a new post for all of you new and longer-term followers. (Thank you!) A devotional writing project has been tugging at my heart also. Maybe today could be the start of that project.
I headed to the library to find a quiet corner.
On the way…
A dear friend and business partner of Tom’s called for some heartfelt conversation and encouragement. After talking about twenty minutes, I walked towards the library where I saw an acquaintance from church whom I hadn’t seen in a while. His wife went to heaven a few years ago so we visited about our commonality of life these days.
As I found a table upstairs by the window, later than anticipated, I opened my iPad and realized I needed to reply to several emails for a volunteer project for Fellowship of Christian Athletes.
Sometimes I feel so ineffective. Those great intentions get waylaid so easily. Satan certainly uses subtle distractions to pull us off task.
But were these from Satan?
Jesus was interrupted often during His work on earth. The Bible shows us many of these unplanned events. In Matthew 9, Jesus has just invited Matthew to follow Him. They’re at Matthew’s house eating dinner when the Pharisees interrupted the disciples with questions.
In Mark 5, Jesus has just driven a legion of demons out of a man and is on His way back to town when a leader of the synagogue falls before Him pleading for healing for his daughter. Jesus starts to go with this man when a woman with an issue of blood comes from behind and touches His garments and is healed. Jesus stops to acknowledge her. Verse 35 of Mark 5 says, “while Jesus was still speaking…” a servant from the leader’s house steps in to say the little girl is dead. But instead of going back to His original plans, Jesus tells the man, “Do not be afraid. Only believe,” and continues on His way to the leader’s house.
In Luke 5 we see Jesus teaching in a crowded house when the roof above Him literally comes off and a paralyzed man is lowered down right in front of Him. Jesus isn’t even phased. He issues forgiveness to the man and heals him.
Even in His darkest hours in the garden of Gethsemane when Peter cuts off the ear of the Roman soldier, Jesus heals him. (Luke 22:51)
Were these interruptions sent by Satan to keep Jesus from doing His father’s work? Or were they the Father’s work?
Jesus knew the difference between distractions sent by Satan and work put in His path by His Heavenly Father. His earthly ministry was only three years long, but He accomplished more in those years than I can even dream of getting done in the same time. He impacted more people in three years than any politician or business person before or since. His love and grace has outlasted the best marketing campaign ever waged.
I pray that I can be as discerning about what’s important. I pray that Jesus will give me wisdom to see opportunities to share His love as just that–opportunities, not interruptions. I pray God will give me grace to pay attention and be willing to heed His work and will over my plans when my intentions get waylaid.
Jesus, thank you for your example of grace and patience that you lived out on earth. Give me wisdom to acknowledge people and opportunities you place in my path. Help me to recognize each person who crosses my path every day as someone you love just as much as you love me. Give me discernment to know your will versus the distractions of Satan. Help me to come to you to listen for your guidance every day of my life. Amen.