I am a creature of habit. I know that this statement may strike many of you as a bit of a paradox. ‘But Andrew, you seem so spontaneous, so spirited’. And I thank you for those complements. But truth be told, I like to kind of have a steadiness about my schedule. And so this time of year can kind of drive me crazy. Here I am just truly getting settled into a lackadaisical summer schedule and boom; school starts again. Now all of a sudden my schedule gets shifted around my son’s transportation and homework and sleep schedule etc., etc.. And not only that, but I guess I thought it was a bright idea for me to start back to school as well…as if one of us in our household in school wasn’t enough (19th grade if anyone is counting). But needless to say this has caused me some weird undue stress and sometimes I don’t exactly know how to deal with it well.
One of the ways in which I try to deal with stress is by going to the gym (I now know some of you are smirking behind your computer or phone screens). But I do enjoy getting to work out…when I get to it. You see, sometimes when I go to the gym I don’t get much working out done. Instead I find myself getting interrupted by others in the midst of my routines. And I have come to love it (and not just because it is an excuse not to work out). I once heard someone say that ministry happens in the interruptions. And more and more I am beginning to see that this is the case. Why? Because when our routines/schedules are interrupted we become more aware of what is actually happening in the moment. Hebrews 13:1-2 says this, “Keep on loving one another as brothers and sisters. Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by so doing some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it.” I know many of us have read this verse before and I have always been tripped up by the ‘showing hospitality to angels’ part, but I’ve been doing some thinking about this.
You see, most of the time our encounters, maybe I should say our true and real encounters with strangers are in the interruptions of life. When we are going through our routines and schedules very rarely do we actually have a true and real encounter. But when we allow space for interruptions, all of a sudden we find ourselves engaging others or being engaged by others. And as far as the ‘showing hospitality’/’being a friend to’ (this is what the Greek really means) to angels…well I have a different approach to this. In his essay The Weight of Glory, C.S. Lewis had this to say about our encounters with others. “There are no ordinary people. You have never talked to a mere mortal. Nations, cultures, arts, civilizations – these are mortal, and their life is to ours as the life of a gnat. But it is immortals whom we joke with, work with, marry, snub, and exploit – immortal horrors or everlasting splendors.”
So perhaps our interruptions have eternal effects. May you find yourself aware of those around you and allow Christ to shake up your schedule for the sake of another.