Tony Nochim

My family and I recently experienced Southeast’s Live Stream service for the first time.

It should have been easy to find Southeast’s YouTube page, but I was slow at figuring it out on my in-laws’ TV.

I could feel my frustration and impatience start to rise, and that’s when my 3-year-old daughter, normally at SE!KIDS, decided it was time to pull her first solo in the midst of a mess of toys. Church began as she grabbed her “guitar” and sang the chorus, “All I Need Is You.”

She made her own moment.

Jesus said having childlike faith is necessary to enter the Kingdom (Matthew 18). I think that has a lot to do with the fact that kids see life through a different lens than adults.

Adults see an activity; kids see an adventure. Adults see an event; kids see an experience. Adults see a task to get done; kids see a trip to embark upon. If you don’t believe me, watch the contrast between kids and adults at Walmart.

Or, if you’ve ever tried to take a child on a hike, watch as they chase butterflies, pick flowers or collect rocks—anything but hiking.

When did we get too old to enjoy simple moments because we’re so driven to get things done?

We live in a world consumed with goals, strategy, time-management, peak productivity and efficiency.

These are all necessary so that we can maximize our energy toward what God has called us to.

Jesus was no different.

He was bent to finish His mission and wouldn’t be distracted, delayed or denied getting to the cross.

But He also seemed to have a schedule most CEOs would scoff at.

Jesus didn’t have a to-do list with boxes to check off for the day, and His 12 “administrative assistants” likely grew annoyed with no daily itinerary.

If we’re honest, crossing something off our to-do list gives us a feeling of satisfaction.

However, Jesus was the master of saying “yes” to disruptions and dropping whatever He was doing for one person because He didn’t want to miss a moment to impact his or her life.

That moment often became that person’s defining moment.

The story of the adulterous woman in John 8 was unscheduled, awkward and inconvenient, but Jesus was never too busy for people.

A productive day for Jesus was defined by investing in people.

We never want to worship productivity at the expense of people. Jesus is the ultimate reminder that people outweigh our laundry list of tasks.

To paraphrase one author, “We’re great at seizing the day, but we often don’t see the day.”

We tend to miss moments because we want them to be perfectly packaged, uninterrupted, clean, planned, organized and expected.

But moments happen organically, with a bit of a mess, unanticipated and outside a church building.

It’s Jonah encountering God inside a whale or the walls of Jericho crashing down while the Israelites charge the city.

It’s David forgiving King Saul and Absalom or Joseph being sold into slavery so he could eventually save the Israelites from famine.

It’s the beginning of Jesus’ life in a manger, surrounded by the stench of farm animals, and the end of His life on a cross, with cries from the crowd and blood spattered everywhere.

In the Book of Acts, 39 of 40 miracles mentioned happened outside the church walls.

None of these are clean and pristine Kodak moments.

It’s not clean when you’re trying to connect with your teenager who doesn’t want to talk; or you’re a Christian with cancer; or you’re in relational ministry with the homeless, prostitutes or orphans; or you confront a family member or friend about their sin; or you work in an environment that wants you to tiptoe around your faith.

In these messy moments, stop seeing situational or relational interruptions and slow down enough to see an invitation. They are all an invitation for intimacy with God.

You can never have intimacy with God without these moments of interruption.

Tony Nochim is a staff writer for The Southeast Outlook.