Interruptions vs. Routine
September 30, 2019

This article first appeared 8 years ago or more, but it’s a good reminder for us to allow God to interrupt our routines.

How flexible is your schedule? Most of us have someway of planning our day.  I am kind of a reverse planner.  I put more detail down about what I have done during the day then having a written plan for the day.  Maybe you are just the opposite, perhaps you have the day planned out by the hour.  The “To Do List” is somewhere very visible and is the first and last thing you look at on any given day.  At the end of the day how do we measure a successful day, is it by the amount of items crossed off the “To Do List?”   

Here is a new take on how to measure a successful day.  Instead of placing the priority on the planned events of the day focus on the interruptions. I know this is not the usual approach we take, but what if God has something different planned for the day?  The phone call when someone just needs to talk.  The request to give a helping hand. The elderly neighbor who needs you to change a light bulb. I wonder if in God’s eyes these might not be the more important tasks of the day.  In his book, Life together Dietrich Bonhoeffer writes about the ministry of helpfulness that should take place within the Christian community.  “We must be ready to allow ourselves to be interrupted by God.  God will be constantly crossing our paths and canceling our plans by sending us people with claims and petitions…But it is part of the discipline of humility that we must not spare our hand where it can perform a service and that we do not assume that our schedule is our own to manage, but allow it to be arranged by God.” (Bonhoeffer, 1954, 99)

I am reminded of the passage in James 4 that says, “Now listen, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money… Instead, you ought to say, “If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.”  (James 4:13, 15).  Just like everyone else I get frustrated with interruptions at times, but if they are from God they are more important than our plans.  Perhaps, the interruptions we face during the day are opportunities God is giving us to serve Him and others.  Maybe the real problem is in the fact that we don’t make room for interruptions in our daily routine. In essence we are saying, “God doesn’t have an appointment so we can’t deal with Him right now.”  That sounds a little absurd, but perhaps it is true.