“Surely what a man does when he is taken off his guard is the best evidence for what sort of man he is.” C.S. Lewis
Sometimes it’s no problem for me to jump in and help people on a whim. Yet, if I’m being totally honest, other times I only like serving Jesus and other people when I was planning on it. Sometimes I struggle with being inconvenienced.
As idealistic as it may sound, I think to truly capture the heart of Jesus, we must see inconveniences as opportunities rather than annoyances. This is certainly not easy for our fragile humanness which seems to balk at the smallest bump in the road, but take heart at this: When a personal inconvenience is the backdrop to your willingness and love, the character of Jesus shines that much brighter through you!
One reason inconvenience is so annoying is because of sin. Sin is often defined as disobedience towards God, but I believe Scripture gives us a deeper definition. Sin is when we fall short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23). Through our actions and in-actions, the glory of God is on display for the world to see. To glorify God is to bear His image accurately. Therefore, sin is when we do not accurately display the image of God, thus falling short of His glory.
I, like many of us, struggle to do things that are “forced” on me. Yet, loving and serving someone is rarely convenient. Jesus consistently modeled for us how to love and serve others when inconvenienced.
When you read the chapters leading up to Luke 9, you will find a dizzying chain of events outlining the loving actions of Jesus and His disciples. Traveling, preaching, healing, getting kicked out of some villages, getting mobbed by adoring fans, and on and on the ministry merry-go-round was going.
In Luke 9, Jesus and His disciples withdrew to seek some much-needed rest, but an uninvited crowd of over five thousand people followed them. We are told, “Then Jesus took the disciples with him and they withdrew by themselves to a town called Bethsaida, but the crowds learned about it and followed him. He welcomed them and spoke to them about the kingdom of God, and healed those who needed healing.” (Luke 9:10-11)
I’ve often wondered what the disciples thought when Jesus welcomed the crowd… “Huh? No, you are not invited. We’ve been serving people constantly for months now. We need to rest with Jesus. Go away . . . please . . . thanks . . . no seriously . . . bye.” But we see that Jesus welcomed the inconvenience and, in the process, loved the people.
When there are needs that need to be met, when things come up out of nowhere, or when you are asked to serve someone in a way you don’t like, these are the moments when we can make a great impact for the Kingdom, not necessarily through our skill, but through our love expressed in inconvenient ways.