“Now when Jesus heard this, he withdrew from there in a boat to a deserted place by himself. But when the crowds heard it, they followed him on foot from the towns. When he went ashore, he saw a great crowd; and he had compassion for them and cured their sick.” (Matthew 14:13-14, NRSV)
When I was a kid I would drop by my grandparents’ home unannounced. I imagine at times they found it annoying, to say the least. The interruption was never seen as such. Or at least, it never felt like it. No matter what they were doing, they welcomed it.
Even into young adulthood when I would still drop by unannounced, there was always room at their table. It would not be uncommon for other family members to unexpectedly drop by. As more gathered around the table, conversation flowed freely, along with the coffee and tea.
Unlike the disciples who wanted to send the interrupting crowd away, my grandparents welcomed us in, fed us, and engaged us in conversation. I am confident that the same hospitality shown to family would have been shown to others. When you came to my grandparents’ home, you were greeted with compassion, not as a nuisance.
I imagine that you have days, like I do, where your plans get ruined. You get an unexpected interruption that throws you off a little bit. Someone approaches you at the store or a coffee shop and begins sharing much more than you expected. The person sitting next to you on the airplane senses that you are a safe person, and opens up to you about a life struggle.
These interruptions could easily be deemed nuisances.
I once heard someone say, “God is in the interruptions.” What if we viewed the sudden interruption as a God-moment or an opportunity?
Jesus planned out his day, only to get interrupted not by one or two people, but by a crowd. While the disciples advocated for the people to be sent away, Jesus welcomed them and fed them. He did not greet them as if they were nuisances. Instead, he looked upon them with compassion and engaged them. The interruption was an opportunity to share the love of God.
What opportunities await you through interruptions this week?
Lord, when we get interrupted this week, help us to see it as an opportunity to listen with compassion as we share your love. Amen.