You know when you keep getting the same message sent to you in 43 different ways? That’s God trying to tell you something.
Last week, I heard Bob Goff say this:
“Being a Christian means living a life of interruptions.”
He also noted that being available is one of the greatest ways we can share Christ with people. Ever notice how hard it is to make time for people? You schedule them in two weeks down the road for coffee, and maybe both of you will be able to make it. But what if people need you right now? Do you have any margin in your life for being there in the moment? Do you have any margin in your life to be kind for the stranger in the elevator or at the supermarket? Are you looking past people to the next item on your to-do list when God may have put that stranger in your pathway for a reason? Don’t overlook these opportunities.
A Facebook friend yesterday recounted a story of seeing a woman with her baby who needed a seat in a busy restaurant. My friend offered her the open seat at her own small table, reluctantly. She said after a few minutes of awkward silence and small talk, the woman eventually opened up to her and it turned out her husband had passed away just a month after the birth of their baby. WOAH. Talk about almost missing an opportunity to be there for someone God put in your path.
Last night, I had the chance to have dinner with a group of people — almost all strangers — who are committed to fostering conversation and community…including a really novel concept called “porching.” Porching is bringing back the idea of gathering on the front porch with neighbors and friends regularly to have real conversations and be there for one another. It reminded me of the book “The Turquoise Table,” which is essentially the same idea. We have lost this art in a day and age of closed blinds, shut garage doors and barely speaking to our neighbors. It’s a real detriment these days, especially when we are communicating more via Facebook comments with our neighbors than speaking with them in our yards!
Lastly, I ran across this article — an interview with author Rosaria Butterfield, who just wrote a book about hospitality (the very thing that played a huge role in her becoming a Christian later in her life.) She says this:
“Hospitality is fundamentally an act of missional evangelism…we forget hospitality isn’t a nice add-on you do when you happen to have a spare Saturday afternoon. It’s the bridge that God is going to use to solve the biggest problems in people’s lives…understand that hospitality is a form of spiritual warfare.”
It’s not natural for everyone — including me — to be extremely hospitable, or even available. You hear people lamenting “small talk” and avoiding elevator rides with people at work so they don’t have to talk to them. But, I think Bob Goff has the right idea. He never schedules things in advance if he doesn’t absolutely have to because he wants to make space in his life for people RIGHT NOW. So if he’s available on Thursday, he’ll meet you then but he might not be available because he’s run into someone who needs his time in the moment.
Imagine how powerful it could be if we stopped being a slave to our schedules and me-time and made being there for others a priority. Being a Christian means living a life of interruptions, he said. Let’s expect it. Let’s be here for it. Let’s believe that God is creating divine appointments everyday and embrace them as opportunities to be Jesus to the world instead of seeing inconveniences or irritations that throw off our schedules.