How we handle the speed bumps in life says a lot about our stewardship of disruptions.
My wife and I recently had the opportunity to travel with our youngest son to Texas for a conference. Half way through our sixty-minute drive to the airport my wife turned to me and said, “Oh no, I forgot my phone!” – back home we went. Then, once we finally got near the airport we hit bumper-to-bumper traffic on a toll road. I thought toll roads don’t have traffic – I mean after all, what am I paying for? Once we arrived at the airport, after parking the car and taking the shuttle to the terminal, we realized I had forgotten the car seat base in the car- back on the shuttle to retrieve the base. Luckily, or perhaps providentially, our plane was ninety minutes delayed, so we had plenty of time to deal with our disruptions and still make our flight.
As leaders, we face disruptions all day long. We lay out our plans, and then as soon as we get to work it seems so many interruptions begin to work against us. Cancelled meetings, sickness, and delayed flights on one level – economic downturns, and moral failure among staff on another. Disruptions will come, but how do we steward them? Do we see them as antithetical to the plans of God, or means to accomplish His purposes?
In his popular book, Spiritual Leadership (p.97), Oswald Sanders says of interruptions, “How interesting that the Gospel account contains no hint of any interruption ever disturbing the serenity of the Son of God. Few things are more likely to produce tension in a busy life than unexpected interruptions. Yet to Jesus there were no such things. ‘Unexpected” events were always foreseen in the Father’s planning, and Jesus was therefore undisturbed by them. True at times there was hardly time to eat, but time was always sufficient to accomplish all the Father’s will.”
In scripture we see wonderful examples of how Jesus handled disruptions, showing us that perhaps these are the moments in which the Kingdom is breaking forth.
“Then children were brought to him that he might lay hands on them and pray. The disciples rebuked the people, but Jesus said, ‘Let the little children come to me and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of heaven.’” Matthew 19:13-14
“And they came, bringing to him a paralytic carried by four men. And when they could not get near him because of the crowd, they removed the roof above him, and when they had made an opening, they let down the bed on which the paralytic lay.” Mark 2:3-4
“And Jesus said, ‘Who was it that touched me?…Someone touched me, for I perceived that power had gone out from me.” Luke 8:45-46
So, instead of seeing these speed bumps as frustrating disruptions to our plan, perhaps we can reorient our perspective and instead view them as providential opportunities to be a part of the Lord’s work in unexpected ways throughout our day.
What purpose did the disruptions in my schedule on my recent trip serve? Perhaps God was giving me more time with my wife, or an additional opportunity to share Christ’s love and grace with the shuttle driver. Lord, help us to steward life’s interruptions in such a way as to bring glory to you when we least expect it.
Nathan Jones currently serves a the Associate Vice President for Development at Youth for Christ USA. He has over 15 years of experience in resource development, and has a passion to help Christian organizations become well run and well resourced for the work to which God has called them.
Sometimes we need a wise mentor to guide us through the disruptions of life. If you are seeking that type of council – then be sure to check out Christian Leadership Alliance‘s Outcomes Mentoring Network. Life-change starts here!