I can't commit to much of anything anymore without checking the almighty calendar contained within my phone. My calendar has strong opinions about when I can rest or have fun. And oddly enough, my calendar has even stronger opinions about when I can serve.
The life of the modern family is ruled strictly by time and frequently we measure our ability to spend time, money and effort based on convenience. I hear myself saying things like, "Sure I can do that, it's on my way" or "Here's a donation for this, I happen to have an extra $10 in my purse today". But what about the needs that arise when something isn't on our way? Those things that take way too much of our time or money or brainpower.
The other day while I was loading my car at Costco, a woman approached me who did not speak English very well. She had an index card which read something like "I have no money and lost my baby." She startled me and to be honest I was irritated that she approached me all of a sudden from behind. I immediately thought she might be a decoy for someone trying to grab my purse from the cart. I quickly blurted, "I don't have cash.", and my expression said, "Get away from me." She might not have been legit but for the past two days I have thought of her. What if she really needed something? I could have walked into the store and gotten a few dollars for her or given her one of the many snack items from my cart. But honestly, I didn't trust her and I didn't want to take the time to investigate her need.
If I think about my own life, I have never asked for help when it was convenient for the other person. And my own kids never got sick when it fit into my schedule. I don't believe I have ever scheduled time to clean up vomit or wet pants. But the times of need or illness are the exact times we can show Christ to others - whether it be the stranger in the parking lot or our own child.
Jesus spent a lot of time walking to and from ministry and teaching opportunities. Many of the people He healed spiritually or physically interrupted Him on His way to and from. God placed folks in His path at inconvenient times. I believe God works the same way today. The very people and situations that need the attention and love of Christ the most are just plain inconvenient and not in our plans.
I also find that when I am obedient to love and take the time out of my day or the money from my pocket I am most blessed. God gives me back the time and replaces that money. Time and money - two things which we are afraid to let go. Two things that make our lives easier and more comfortable.
Matthew 16:24-26 says "Then Jesus told his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what shall a man give in return for his soul?" I often focus on "my cross" as being the big challenges - health issues, family problems or financial burden. But this morning, I think "my cross" has a lot more to do with the two words that come first - "deny himself". Maybe the inconvenient interuptions make up the cross we are to bear more than the huge, obvious problems. Because those little inconveniences have a lot more to do with someone else's needs than our own. The very love of Christ has nothing to do with Himself, and everything to do with everyone else - he SO LOVED the WORLD.
My prayer for today is to see interruptions as part of God's plan to let me love like Him and see Him working everywhere.