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Too Busy?

by Pastor Bahe
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My first Call was to serve a rural parish in North Dakota.  The location was further North than I had ever traveled.  I felt like I had gone to the ends of the earth. Still, I wouldn’t exchange those first years of ministry in North Dakota for anything else. The ministry was challenging, but the people were warm and kind. They put up with my rookie ideas and my foolish mistakes. The parish was a three-point, which means there were three separate congregations to minister to. This means there were three council meetings to attend each month, three worship services each Sunday, three confirmation classes … you get the idea. It was a busy time.

The first person I met at the Petersburg-Dahlen-Lom congregation was Roscoe Kelly.  Roscoe was the chair of my Call Committee.  Mr. Kelly ran a huge farm. He was a busy man, but always seemed to have time. One of the first things he wanted me to do was to spend an afternoon with him in the fields.  When he asked me, I thought to myself, “I’m far too busy to take time to sit on a tractor for an afternoon.” It seemed, to my rookie self, that an afternoon was entirely too much time to spend away from the “real” work of ministry.  I was about to be proven wrong and I’ve never forgotten the important lesson I learned.

As we spent the afternoon on the tractor, Roscoe taught me about the people I would be serving. He taught me about the community. He told me stories and was good enough to ‘clue’ me in on who was related to whom. In one afternoon, he opened the community to me.  The afternoon flew by and as I climbed down from the tractor Roscoe yelled above the noise of the engine:  “Remember, sometimes slowing down is the best way forward.  Vivian and I will be praying for you.”   What a gift.

I was so certain that an afternoon on that tractor would put me behind for the week, so certain that it was unnecessary.  How wrong I was! Mr. Kelly graciously gave me the gift of a “holy interruption.”

I have a quote from Dietrich Bonhoeffer in my office that reads:  “We must be ready to allow ourselves to be interrupted by God.”  Roscoe brought me such an interruption. And I almost missed it. Sometimes we are too busy for our own good. Sometimes we miss those ‘God-moments’ when we forget what is truly important in life.

The next time you find yourself thinking you are  ‘too’ busy, worried, tired, doubtful, or cynical…remember Bonhoeffer’s words and be ready for an interruption from God. They are all around if we pause long enough to find them. God’s presence attends us daily. Sometimes God interrupts us to quiet us and help us reflect on what He is stirring us toward next. Those God-moment interruptions are life-changing and life-giving. It was true that day on the tractor. It is true for you as well! Take time out as we move from this long winter to this beautiful spring to be interrupted by God. You will be glad you did! Thanks be to God who interrupts us to enlighten and renew us!

Pastor Kari Bahe

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