The Art of Availability

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How many times a day do you look at the clock?

How many times a week do you check your schedule?

How many times a month do you have a slight breakdown with having so much to do and so little time to do it?

This is the 2014 we’ve created. This is the lifestyle we find acceptable to live. This is the culture we’ve designed… busyness, scheduling  and constant trying to finish something so we can start something else.

“It’s so liberating and freeing.” – said no one ever.

This week I’ve been pondering the art of availability. The art of being there for people at any time. The art of saying no to self and our plans and being present in the moment.

I’ve been reflecting on the life of Jesus and how he mixed with people, communicated with them and loved them. I struggle to find a passage in scripture were it says: “Jesus arranged to meet the leper at 11.30am to heal him.” Or “Jesus knew the woman needed to hear words of hope and healing but he was rushing to do something else so scheduled in a time to speak to her when it suited him better.”

Jesus was available. He had time for people. People saw him as approachable.

One of my favorite stories is Mark 10:46-52; Blind Bartimaeus. If you read this passage you’ll see that Jesus, his disciples and a large crowd were all leaving the city. I don’t know if Jesus had somewhere to be but the scripture makes it clear he was leaving Jericho. But something or should I say someone stopped him from leaving so quickly. Bartimaeus was someone who everyone else saw as an inconvenience, not important and not deserving of Jesus’ time. So when he tried to get Jesus attention people told him to be quiet! They were probably thinking who does this guy think he is? Jesus won’t stoop so low as to talk to a blind guy, a beggar, an outcast – He’s hanging out with us today! But Bartimaeus didn’t give up – he shouted even louder! Now remember Jesus was leaving the city- he was with his friends, he had a huge following, he was a busy guy, he had a calling on his life, a job he had to do but check out verse 49 ‘Jesus stopped…’ Jesus had a choice. He could have ignored this guy who was causing a whole scene, he could have carried on chatting with his friends and teaching the crowd or he could speak to Bartimaeus and disrupt the plans of the day. Jesus knew what he was to do. He spent time with him. In that moment of availability Jesus changed Bartimaeus’ life forever. Bartimaeus gains his sight and becomes a follower of Jesus.

As I write this post I wonder how many ‘moments of availability’ God has placed before me and I have ignored because I was too controlled by my timetable, my plans and my selfishness. I wonder how many you have missed?

When people looked at Jesus they saw someone who was willing to enter into their pain, difficulties, struggles. They saw someone who was willing to celebrate with them, journey with them and share his life with them.

Friends, what do people see when they see us? Can they rely on our availability? Can they share their heart with us and they know we will give them our full attention? In a moment of crisis do they feel like they can call us and we will be there? If God tells us to speak to someone, do something or go somewhere that is contradictory to our own plans are we willing to be obedient?

There is no such thing as wasted time when God is involved. Being obedient to God will never cause us to think ‘Oh that time could have been much better spent doing such and such…’ Let’s shake up the culture we’re living in by actually living in the moment.

One moment of availability could change someone’s life forever. 

Lord, as we go about our day help us be available to the people you have placed in our lives. May we never ignore a moment you have given us to point someone to you, to build someone up or to be used in any way you desire. Make us question our commitments in light of the call you have placed on our lives. In Jesus name we pray, amen. 

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