Monday, March 1, 2010

Beacon Touchpaper #20: "Do (Not) Disturb"

"Now when Jesus heard [of John's death], he withdrew from there in a boat to a desolate 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 on them..." (Matt 14.13-14, ESV)

The world we live in is increasingly fast-paced and introverted. Nearly one tenth of Britons go a week without meeting anybody socially, and 15% go a week without speaking to their neighbours at all. The way garden fences were built in the 1930's allowed for conversations to develop naturally between neighbours; most new developments today are apartment-based or include 2-metre high walls and fences. And when we're out and about, it's an easy thing to get caught up in our errands and rarely stop for more than a passing hello when we recognise a face or see someone who could do with a hand. The danger is to justify ourselves that we're too busy to stop; or we may not have actually noticed that that person would really appreciate just a few minutes of our time.

Jesus, upon hearing of his second-cousin John the Baptist's beheading, withdrew to a remote place. He needed time to grieve, to reflect and to commune with His Father. However, as soon as He saw the crowds that had followed Him, He had compassion upon them and put their needs before His. And his disciples learned from His example...

In Acts chapter 3, there is an amazing tale of Peter and John being willing to be inconvenienced for the Gospel. As they were heading into the temple for prayer, a lame man asks them for some money. Immediately, Peter stops and offers him so much more; the man is instantly healed in the name of Jesus and the crowds were filled with wonder as a result. So, having given the man his few moments, does Peter then continue his business? No, he then sees the crowd and begins to preach (with the ex-lame man clinging to him (v11)!). And the result of his preach? They got arrested and thrown into detention! But as for the crowd... many who heard the word believed! The total number of the church subsequently swelled to 5,000 men (= over 10,000 people). Peter and John were, just like Jesus, willing to be inconvenienced for the Gospel...

Just imagine for a moment what could happen if we ourselves were more willing to be inconvenienced for the Gospel? Of course, we are allowed to "shut the door" when we need to recuperate/ refresh/ spend time with God and family; being inconvenienced for the Gospel is consciously taking off the "Do Not Disturb" sign in our GENERAL everyday life... With that in mind, imagine what could happen if we put our timetable to one side for just a few moments when the opportunities arose? Churches like Abundant Life Church in Bradford are now practising the "Love15 Revolution" - being willing to give 15 minutes of our day to be inconvenienced; taking the "Do Not Disturb" sign off from around our necks... just imagine... "Do Not Disturb"? Make it "Do Disturb!" Go for it!

1 comment:

J.T. Noels said...

Man, that was well challenging! Thanks bro!