Scripture: Matthew 9:18-22 - "While Jesus was saying this, a Jewish official came to him, knelt down before him, and said, 'My daughter has just died; but come and place your hands on her and she will live.' So Jesus got up and followed him, and his disciples went along with him.
A woman who had suffered from severe bleeding for twelve years came up behind Jesus and touched the edge of his cloak. She said to herself, 'If only I touch his cloak, I will get well.' Jesus turned around and saw her, and said, 'Courage my daughter. Your faith has made you well.' At that very moment the woman became well."
The story begins when a Jewish official, whose daughter had just died, interrupted Jesus with an urgent plea. "Come place your hands on her and she will live." Jesus and the other disciples followed him.
Along the way, a woman who suffered from bleeding for twelve years saw Jesus. She said, "If I only touch his cloak I will get well." The woman didn't need to speak to Jesus or even look at him. She needed no interaction - just to touch his cloak. Jesus took a moment to respond to her saying, "Courage, my daughter. Your faith has made you well." The woman was healed at that very moment.
Jesus shows us a willingness to set aside what he is doing and be present to people who come to him. He could have said to the Jewish official, "I'm not done teaching. I will be with you in a few minutes." He could have ignored the woman's needs so he could hurry and reach the official's house. Over and over we read how Jesus pauses, listens and responds to those around him.
Our Lives and Jesus' Life
I believe Jesus' life was as busy as ours can be, but in different ways. Jesus didn't let the demands people were making on his time get in the way of being present in the moment, even to those who interrupted.
Several years ago, I attended a Wednesday morning Bible study at the YMCA. The class began at 9:00. My gym bag and purse were slung over my shoulder, ready to leave when the phone rang. I knew if I answered the call I would be late. I picked up the phone and listened to a friend who needed someone to listen. I couldn't say to her, "I'm sorry I can't talk now, I need to go to Bible study so I can learn how Jesus loved and cared for others." So we spoke for ten minutes, then twenty minutes. Finally forty-five minutes later we finished and agreed to meet the next day to continue the discussion.
I drove to the YMCA anyway, arriving for the last five minutes of the study. I don't know what I missed during class that day, but I know I'm glad I didn't miss a a chance to follow Jesus' example to pause, set aside what I was doing and be present to my friend that day.
1. Is it easy or hard to set aside our daily agendas when someone needs our help?
2. Have you been late to an activity because you paused to listen to a friend or family member? How does allowing time for others unexpectedly make you feel?
3. When have you ignored someone to continue with your plans? Do you regret taking time to be present?
Prayer: Loving and caring God, help me follow the example of Jesus as I encounter people - both those who I plan to see and those who randomly cross my path. Guide me to set aside my agenda and respond to others. Amen.