I was irritated. All I wanted to do was enjoy a cup of coffee in silence. Now this young lady, who I didn't even know, was talking to me. And it wasn't interesting stuff. She was asking me random questions and telling me all about her life. I didn't want to hear it. Lord, why can't I just have some peace and quiet?
Shortly after that, I was reading Mark 6. In the passage Jesus is performing miracles and giving teaching unlike anyone had ever experienced. His popularity was overwhelming—so much so that he told his disciples to withdraw with him to a solitary place for some rest. Yet when he arrived at his intended destination, the Bible tells us a crowd of people was waiting for him. What was his reaction? Anger? Frustration? "Just leave me alone"?
I would have likely reacted with all three! But not Jesus. We see how he responded in Mark 6:34: "When Jesus landed and saw a large crowd, he had compassion on them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd. So he began teaching them many things." Jesus cared about people—period. He did not view them as an interruption of his ministry but as the purpose for it. That is one of the biggest lessons I've learned over the past few years as a pastor: embrace every conversation as an opportunity to fulfill the Lord's command to love him and love others.
-Perry Noble, pastor at NewSpring Church, Anderson, South Carolina.
Copyright © 2012 by the author or Christianity Today/Leadership Journal.
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