September 28, 2019 • Life for Leaders
“Then one of the synagogue rulers, named Jairus, came there. Seeing Jesus, he fell at his feet and pleaded earnestly with him, “My little daughter is dying. Please come and put your hands on her so that she will be healed and live.”
Suffering levels the playing field. A man named Jairus approaches Jesus and falls at Jesus’ feet. Jairus is a synagogue leader. We do not know if he was a Pharisee, a Sadducee, a benefactor or a patron in the synagogue. Yet we know that he was desperate and willing to boldly approach Jesus on behalf of his dying daughter. Jairus pleads for him to come and lay his hands on his daughter so that she will be healed and live. However, his plans get interrupted because Jesus is interruptible.
An untouchable touches Jesus. An unnamed woman that had been bleeding for twelve years believed, “If I just touch his clothes, I will be healed.” (Mark 5:28). She was considered ritually unclean. She had probably not been into the synagogue in twelve years due to laws of purification. She had hemorrhaged and spent all her money on doctors that did not help her—in fact, they made it worse. Some of you do not have to imagine the chronic pain that she endured that encompassed the physical, social, emotional and financial realms. Perhaps no one had even touched her with affection in twelve years, yet she dared to touch Jesus.
One of the most fascinating aspects of this story within the story is that both the positionally privileged and the socially disempowered are desperate enough to approach Jesus. Jesus as a leader remains both interruptible and approachable. Nobody is too much or not enough to take up his time. Leaders must be interruptible and approachable, and Jesus is no exception.
Additionally, the inner work ethic in the ministry of Jesus is driven by mercy. In an act of mercy, Jesus names the unnamed woman: “Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace and be freed from your suffering.” Jesus names her and praises her faith in a society that would have isolated her. In the sea of humanity pressing against him he pushes against barriers pressing against her and reinstates her into community by declaring her now clean.
As leaders in our workplaces, homes and community: Are we interruptible? Who would we clear our schedule for? Do we have an inner metric of who is worthy of our time? How does time relate to the worth of the other?
Something to Think About:
How full is your work schedule? Is there room for holy disruptions?
How do you respond when others interrupt you?
How might you rethink interruptions as an opportunity to see the humanity of a co-worker or employee?
Something to Do:
Interrupt your own schedule. Make room. Clear fifteen minutes. Set the tasks aside and see the people. Who is suffering with personal pain outside of work? Write them a note of encouragement. Leave it at their desk.
God of the tides and our times, we surrender our daily schedules wound tight with tasks before us. They are yours. Heal us from the need to be driven only by productivity and results. Give us eyes to see, ears to hear and hearts to know those that work around us. Let us see them, hear them and know them in the way that you see them, hear them and know them. Help us respond with and extend kindness, if and especially when we are interrupted. Grant us grace. Amen.