Mark 6:30-34, 53-56 (NRSV)
30 The apostles gathered around Jesus, and told him all that they had done and taught. 31 He said to them, "Come away to a deserted place all by yourselves and rest a while." For many were coming and going, and they had no leisure even to eat. 32 And they went away in the boat to a deserted place by themselves. 33 Now many saw them going and recognized them, and they hurried there on foot from all the towns and arrived ahead of them. 34 As he went ashore, he saw a great crowd; and he had compassion for them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd; and he began to teach them many things. 53 When they had crossed over, they came to land at Gennesaret and moored the boat. 54 When they got out of the boat, people at once recognized him, 55 and rushed about that whole region and began to bring the sick on mats to wherever they heard he was. 56 And wherever he went, into villages or cities or farms, they laid the sick in the marketplaces, and begged him that they might touch even the fringe of his cloak; and all who touched it were healed.
We were at LaGuardia airport recently waiting to catch a plane home after our daughter, Taylor’s, wedding. We arrived early, got through airport security, and decided to bide our time in the food court. I finally tired of reading and checking my email and decided to take a stroll. As a walked past the stores and overpriced vendors, I suddenly saw someone whose face was familiar. I knew it was a TV personality or movie star. Then I realized it was the chef Robert Irvine who often appears on the Food Network and other cooking shows. He was walking at a fast pace as if to send the message, “Don’t bother me. I’m in a hurry.” I could tell that other people recognized him but no one approached him or asked for a selfie.
People like Robert Irvine and even I don’t like to be interrupted or stopped when we are on a mission or focused on the task at hand. And, yet, we need to realize that life sometimes happens when we’ve made other plans. Someone has suggested that interruptions can be encounters with love. Jesus and His disciple’s planned day off was interrupted by the crowd waiting on them as they exited their boat. Jesus realizing that they were sheep without a shepherd went right to work. Too often we resent life’s interruptions. Unfortunately we may also fail to see God at work in them.
It’s like the little girl who went to her mother one day and said, “Tell me about Jesus.”The mother gulped and said, “Go ask your father.” The little girl found her father who was reading the newspaper. “Daddy, tell me about Jesus.” The father did not put the newspaper down as he replied, “Go ask your Sunday school teacher.” The little girl went to her Sunday school teacher the next morning who was busy preparing for the class and asked, “Can you tell me about Jesus?” The Sunday school teacher hastily suggested--since she had not prepared properly over the weekend for Sunday school and was in a panic trying to get ready--that the little girl “Go ask the preacher.”
So the little girl stopped by the pastor’s office but the door was closed. She asked the lady sitting at the receptionist’s desk if she could ask the pastor about Jesus and the receptionist replied that the pastor was busy talking to Jesus before the first worship service. Finally, exasperated, the little girl asked, “can’t he stop talking to Jesus long enough to talk to me about Jesus?”
Jesus understood that He could not spend his entire life and ministry talking to God. He had to tell others about God through his words, ministry, healing and example. Maybe we need to remember that all time is God’s time, even the interruptions. Think about it.