What makes us pause

By Denae Jones – 

People say there is no such thing as a dumb question. I would have to disagree. I have six children, and I am here to tell you, there definitely are dumb questions! I try really hard not to reply with a blank stare, although that’s what some of the questions warrant. However, as dumb as they might seem, I’m still glad they ask. They are communicating and they trust me to give them a direct answer. So I try to pause and look at them while they speak so they know that what they have to say is important to me, even when it sounds absurd.
I was reading through my Bible on the back porch the other morning, and realized that people asked Jesus a lot of questions too. Knowing what we know about Jesus now, the questions don’t sound stupid because we know the end of the story. But at the time, the people in the crowd were probably just wondering how this carpenter from a poor, small, village could possibly be able to answer these questions? Let alone do anything about them. I’m sure that sometimes Jesus felt like giving them a blank stare as well. But he didn’t. He took what sounded absurd on the ears of others and made it into a teachable moment.
“I don’t like the king. Do I have to pay my taxes? We are out of wine. Can you make more? I’m blind. Can you restore my sight? My brother is dead. Can you raise him up? These men are demonic. Can you cast out the demons? We don’t have any food. Can we feed 5,000 people? My hand is withered. Can you restore it? I’ve been hemorrhaging for 12 years. Can you make it stop? A storm is raging. Can you calm the sea?” The list goes on. But my personal favorite is after he has done all of these things. “Can you give us a sign that you are who you say you are?” Really. Performing those miracles wasn’t enough?
It made me think of when Rick Warren said that most people talk about the things Jesus did and the places he went, but he pays closer attention to the things that Jesus paused for. What did he allow to interrupt him? I love that, because it really tells the best part of the story.
When the outcasts in the crowd would shout those questions as Jesus passed by, he could have easily ignored them like the rest of society, but he didn’t. He went to them. He paused for the lame and the weak. For the widows and the orphans. For the woman who committed adultery, and for the man who couldn’t see. He paused to talk with the children. He paused for the rich and the poor. For the faithful as well as the sinful. He allowed his schedule to be interrupted by the ones their society looked down on because he knew their faith was more genuine than the people who pushed past them.
He didn’t pause for what was popular. He paused for what was important.
Think about that for a minute. What do we allow our schedules to be interrupted for?
Maybe the better question is, what DON’T we allow our schedules to be interrupted for? Are those the things that are really important? Where do our priorities lie?
I’ve learned over the years that busy schedules might make us feel like we are doing important things, but all it generally does is make us exactly that – Busy! Tired. Always in a hurry. Yes, there are always things we have to attend that cannot be avoided, and I’m not talking about that stuff. I’m taking about the extra things we put on our plate that we really don’t need to do. Maybe it’s something we would love to attend because we know we would enjoy it. Or be able to offer much-needed help. Or lend our expertise. There are things we feel we have to attend out of obligation, or so that it looks good. But I’ve started to ask myself a few more questions. Would anyone notice or care if I didn’t go? And then I ask myself, what will I miss with my family if I’m not home tonight? After asking those two questions, it generally gets crossed off.
Sometimes the most important things are the ones that aren’t on a schedule. So, during this incredibly over-scheduled week, I have intentionally paused. I crossed a few things off of our calendar so I could make more un-scheduled time. To look at yearbooks. To go for a walk in the sunshine. To listen to a story for the sixth time. To watch my sons play ball. To snuggle on the couch. To listen to plans. To have dinner together at the table. To take silly pictures. To steal a kiss from my husband while we were working in the yard. All things I’m glad I didn’t miss.
It might not be the most popular, but to me, it’s what’s most important. So here’s another question. What’s most important to you? Is there anything you could pause for that you haven’t been? See how much your day changes when a little ‘rush’ is taken away.
Have a blessed week, friends!