I wonder if you’re the sort of person who likes being sidetracked? I sometimes do – usually when I’m forcing myself to attend to something I don’t want to be doing! Then an interruption is most welcome. There are other times, though, when I find the appearance of the unexpected something of a trial. I’m making great progress with my to-do list, then suddenly…
Knowing what to do with an unexpected interruption is very much a matter of judgement. There are times when it’s definitely best not to be distracted. On the other hand, there are also times when the interruption has something of God about it.
Jesus is a fantastic example of how to deal wisely with distractions. When it interferes with his core mission, he refuses to get sidetracked. However, I am also frequently challenged by how relaxed Jesus was about changing his plans if it meant being able to love or serve or bless someone else. Jesus was able to see God’s hand at work in those ‘interruptions’ – and perhaps, like me, you’d like to have that kind of wisdom to be able to do that, too.
For example, in today’s story, Jesus changes tack no less than twice in just a few verses. He is teaching by the lake when Jairus arrives – and on hearing Jairus’ story immediately sets out to help him. But he is then stopped again, by a woman who suffered with bleeding. What does he do?
The woman’s need is more important than his to-do list – he stops, and tomorrow we’ll see how important this encounter was. But today, let’s reflect on how Jesus is able to turn so many unexpected situations to good – to use every encounter as an opportunity to bless, to be fruitfully distracted in the service of the kingdom of God.
Perhaps, today, take extra care to notice the ‘distractions’ of your day – and ask if God might be in any of them? And if God is – who knows how much good you might do by being ‘distracted’?