I love that Jesus’ feeding of the five thousand was a gracious response to a giant interruption to His “alone time.” He had received word that John the Baptizer had been killed by Herod, and being the healthy, emotional human being He was, no doubt was very upset by this news.
So He got away to a deserted place to be alone. Perhaps to process it all. But the crowds found out where He was and interrupted His precious time. How did He respond? He had compassion on them and was present with them, even in the midst of His emotional anguish over His cousin’s violent death. Maturity has been defined as always acting like your true self in every situation, no matter the situation. Jesus is our perfect example of this definition of maturity.
How much of Jesus’ ministry that we read about in the gospel accounts was response to interruptions? How much of our life is interruption? And how do we respond to it? How much do we probably miss because we are so put off (and therefore shut down) by being interrupted from what we would rather be doing? From what we want to be doing? Or even from what we think we need to be doing?
Much goodness and growth can come from interruption and our responses to it. It’s been reported that the average person is interrupted seventy-two times per day. It’s part of life. Maybe it’s God’s way of teaching us something and growing us, if only we would listen to each situation (interruption) as it arises, instead of blowing it off or doing whatever we can to get past it quickly.
Perhaps what we call interruptions are simply divine appointments.
And I love how in verse 23 that Jesus got right back to His solitude after He took the time to feed and politely dismiss the large crowd. He didn’t give in to distraction and keep on plowing ahead in ministry, making up for His lost time that day. He went right back to what He was doing before the interruption because He knew what He needed from His Father–time with Him.
Always stop and think for two seconds (or more). This is much of the wisdom of Proverbs.
Before you react, think and pray.
Before you speak, think and pray.
We would do ourselves, and all others we come into contact with, a wonderful service by employing the great effort to make this our new default setting. And we can, since we have been given new hearts of flesh to replace our old hearts of stone from God Himself. It’s just a matter of us doing our part to cultivate this new heart of thoughtfulness.
Anyone can do this. Some may just have more old, bad habit to work thru than others. So what. Get to work. Spend quality time with God to allow Him to change you. He will, if you want Him to. If you let Him.