Jesus Interrupted: Frustrations, Interruptions, and the Love of Christ

Welcome Interruption

Welcome Interruption

So when the Samaritans came to him, they asked him to stay with them, and he stayed there two days.

John 4:40

I live in Portland, Oregon — where we have many rainy days. This is a bit of a challenge sometimes because I like to ride my road bike, outside — on the road. I like to ride my road bike mainly because it helps me to compete on the basketball court and the tennis court. But sometimes it’s hard to find a good day to do that. I’ve already been out on several rides this year and been rained on. One ride last week I was dumped on. There was even some sleet mixed in that time. So when the weather report for yesterday (at the time of this writing) predicted it to be warm and dry, I was excited.

I woke up yesterday morning, confirmed the weather, and started filling water bottles. I might need four because my plan was to go for a 30+ mile ride. I put on my cycling jersey. And then I started my day. Here was my plan:

  1. Read the Bible.
  2. Pray.
  3. Work on the final final draft of my book, Love Like Jesus
  4. Go for a long bike ride and enjoy the rare and glorious weather.
  5. Play my favorite video game, Eve Online.
  6. Spend some time with Kathy.
  7. Do a devotion with Kathy before bed.

So everything is going according to plan and I’m working on my book and it happens that I’m up to the chapter titled “Love Like Jesus: Even If It Disrupts Your Sabbath.” I was eager to edit this chapter because it’s all about interruptions, and I recently came across a quote from Bob Goff that I wanted to add. Bob recently tweeted:

“Loving people the way Jesus did means living a life filled with constant interruptions.”

So I add Bob’s quote and finish editing the chapter. And I’m on a roll. Then I dive into the next chapter but after a minute or so I remember that I missed a call from earlier in the morning from my nephew Kody. Suddenly, it dawns on me that I am writing about how loving like Jesus means responding to interruptions and I’m continuing to write instead of returning Kody’s call.

So I stop, and call Kody, and we have a great conversation, mostly about leadership. (Kody’s a cop in Springfield, Oregon.)

After the phone call Kathy and I had a conversation that quickly deteriorated into an argument. As is so often the case, it was a stupid argument — we each were criticizing the other for being too critical. Seriously, that was the argument.

To Kathy’s credit, she decided to change the tone by saying, “You know what, let’s get out of here. Let’s go somewhere.”

I appreciated her olive branch and after a brief discussion we decided to run over to Stark Street Lawn & Garden because we were long over due for a new weed whip and lawn edger. I’m 100% on board because Kathy loves to work in the yard and I want her to have the best equipment we can buy.

And also — importantly — the lawn and garden shop is only ten minutes away so I should have no problem getting back in time for my bike ride.

But did you know that purchasing a weed whip and lawn edger is one of the most complex processes known to humankind? It rivals purchasing equipment for the space shuttle or neurosurgery.

After a long and thorough time of in store research we finally decide on which ones to buy and by now it’s after 3 pm. The store needed to test each piece of equipment before we buy it, and we needed to have lunch so we ran over to Boriken’s Puerto Rican restaurant which is just a few blocks away.

Finally, after lunch we’re loading the weed whip and edger into the car. By now it’s almost 5 pm. When we arrive home Kathy starts weed whipping and edging, and I start pumping up my bike tires.

Then the phone rang.

It was our daughter-in-law Charise, wondering if she could come by the house because she needed some help with her car. Of course I said, “Of course.” And she came by, with our grandson Andrew, who is perhaps the greatest distraction known to humankind, at least for me he is.

By now you’ve guessed that I never went for a bike ride on that rare, beautiful, sunny, dry, spectacular day yesterday. I have to confess to you that I had such a hard time with my plan being disrupted. I was really looking forward to that bike ride. Each interruption compounded my frustration.

But toward the end of the day, I was mainly frustrated with myself, and here’s why. The old Kurt, before I did the deep dive into Jesus, was all about his plan. But the new Kurt, after the deep dive into Jesus, is supposed to be all about God’s plan. And all those interruptions were God’s plan.

I finally recognized that the problem wasn’t the interruptions, the problem was me, because I could see my frustration was showing through and seriously compromising my ability to love people well.

When we look at Jesus in the gospels we see this high frequency of interruptions. His alone time with God was interrupted. His teachings were interrupted. His Sabbath was interrupted. His travel itinerary was interrupted. And each time Jesus responded to the interrupter as though the interruption was better than whatever it was that was being interrupted. (Mark 1:21-26, 35-39, Mark 3:3-6, John 4:40)

I was frustrated with myself because I need to be like Jesus. I need to be someone who recognizes interruptions as opportunities from God to love people.

God help me to be like Jesus and to love the interrupter more than whatever is interrupted.

You might also like “Love Like Jesus: Even If It Disrupts Your Sabbath

Notes:

Image of welcoming man via Quinn Dombrowski — Creative Commons

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