DayBreaks for 2/21/18: An Imitation of the Master
From the DayBreaks archive, February 2008:
So, how do you plan to spend your day today? Did you create a “laundry list” of things that you need to get done or should do? How’s it going so far? Has the list gotten smaller or bigger as the day progressed? How much time do you spend planning out your next day?
It seems that no matter what I do or how meticulously I might try to plan things, it never seems to quite work out like I’d planned. Perhaps that’s what the writer of Proverbs had in mind when he wrote in Proverbs 19:21 (NLT) – You can make many plans, but the LORD’s purpose will prevail. I think I’ve got my day all figured out, but NOT! I often look at the things that come along in the course of a day as being unwelcome events…after all, I’ve got a plan and if I can just run it like clockwork, it’s the best thing, right? Not really. Why should I think that my well-laid plans are the best thing for me to do each day, or the best way to do them, or even that they’re the most important things to do on any given day?
We need to learn to welcome interruptions. Mark Buchanan says that the devil seeks to distract, but God seeks to interrupt, and how quickly we fall prey to Satan’s distractions but how we equally quickly grow oblivious to God’s interruptions. Satan wants us to become distracted from God and godly things, but God wants to interrupt our schedules and plans with things which are more important. Who am I to say that the interruption by the person in the next cubicle is not a portion of a God-directed plan for something greater than the accomplishment of my little plans? Isn’t that perhaps what the writer of the Proverb was saying?
Jesus’ life was dominated by purpose – he came to offer his life as a ransom. Reading the gospels, especially John, one gets the sense that Jesus entire life was spent moving towards Jerusalem and the cross. And indeed, it was always his purpose. But along the way, many things happened to him that we would consider interruptions. It isn’t clear that Jesus kept anything like a detailed itinerary of his daily schedule. In fact, his daily life seemed to be lived by interruption: a woman who touches his clothes and is healed, a dead son begin wept over by his mother, a dinner at a taxpayer’s house, a wedding feast in Cana, a leader of Roman soldiers who entreats him for a healing, little children who wanted to be held, storms on the sea, fishing with his buddies, questions from the scribes and Pharisees – and the list goes on virtually endlessly. He always found time for telling stories, for people along the route to the cross who hadn’t scheduled a moment of his time.
So what was Jesus’ secret and what dictated Jesus’ schedule? How did he number his days aright? Perhaps Jesus came the closest to answering that himself in Mt. 11:1-11, when he said, The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.” Jesus listened and watched the Spirit – and did what the Spirit directed.
Peter, after saying Jesus is the Lord of all, describes how Jesus spent his days: God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and power, and…he went around doing good. (Acts 10:36, 38)
There you have it: the sum of Jesus’ earthly vocation is that he wandered and he blessed. Jesus was a vagabond physician, the original doctor without borders. His purpose was crystal clear – but his methods appear to be random. Henri Nouwen observed something like this about his own life: “My whole life I have been complaining that my work was constantly interrupted until I discovered the interruptions were my work.”
PRAYER: May we discern Your interruptions, Lord, and may we go with You to do what You want us to do together. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
COPYRIGHT 2018 by Galen C. Dalrymple. All rights reserved.