The Interruptions of Christ

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Among the numerous books about leadership that are stacked on my shelves, is one that stands out from among the rest. In 2002 Ajith Fernando, the then Director of Youth for Christ in Sri Lanka, wrote ‘Jesus Driven Ministry‘. Years later when I was privileged to meet Ajith, I thanked him not only for the book, but also for its title! The truth is I constantly need reminding that I am not primarily called to follow the latest small group consultant, time management guru or super-apostle. Rather, I am called to follow the Lord Jesus Christ and as a result, seek to follow his example in both life and ministry. I am aware that this is a whole lot easier said than done. However, is it not more honourable to continue my journey of discipleship, rather than simply opt out and follow the example of ‘another’, however appealing their life or ministry may appear?

So then, if my ministry (or even yours) is to be modelled around the example of Jesus, what in reading the gospels do we see as the hallmarks of his ministry? We have covered in a previous post the importance of food in the ministry of Jesus. We will no doubt in the future mention his humility, power and compassion. However, for now let us briefly consider his willingness to be interrupted!

I am obviously aware that we need to understand the gospel narrative within a first century Middle Eastern context. However, even within a culture in which it would appear to be more important to take the time to speak to someone you meet on ‘the way’, than to arrive at your destination on time, Jesus’ willingness to change his agenda appears staggering.

Consider at the beginning of his ministry, where according to Mark, Jesus disciples broke into his solitude in order that he could address the masses (Mark 1:35-37). Think about the time where he was in the midst of a mob and had the sensitivity to stop and ask ‘who touched me?’ (Luke 8:45) or the occasion when on leaving Jericho, he heard over the cacophony of voices, the cry of a blind beggar (Luke 18:38). So why was the one who came from Heaven to earth willing to change his agenda for each of these distractions? He wasn’t! This was his agenda: that in the ‘Power of the Spirit’ he would ‘do all that he saw his Father doing’ (John 5:19) in the lives of those that he came to serve.

In light of this I ask you, along with me, to re-evaluate your life and ministry. In the busyness of our schedules and despite our looming deadlines, let us, like Jesus, remain open to ‘Heaven’s interruptions’ to our ‘earthly schedules’. Let us ensure that we, like Jesus, prioritise people over programmes, the needs of others over our own desires and the honour of others over our own reputations.

(This article was originally published at The Leader’s Table and is reproduced here by permission of the author) 

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