In my early days as a pastor I would try to get all my office work done during my office hours. It became a challenge almost immediately because I couldn’t seem to sit and focus on my writing or reading when the phone would ring or someone would stop by and want to visit. I couldn’t figure out how to get my office work done in the allotted time with all the interruptions! Then one day it occurred to me that all those interruptions were my job! The busyness of the other stuff was clearly not more important than the person right in front of me. I simply had to learn to keep first things first in my work.
Learning to have time for our neighbors is a similar challenge. It is so easy to miss the opportune encounter that passes in front of us if we think it’s not our job, not important, not what we are about – simply an interruption. Mission Focus for me is learning to see each encounter, every person who passes before me as a potential place where God would invite me to be alive, present, and actively listening and caring.
No, I can’t engage every passerby or every situation before me. Yet, learning to carry a mindfulness of each as it occurs living the question, “Is God inviting me to engage here?” really is a critical step in being mission focused. Good Sam, part of being Good Samaritans in our everyday lives is noticing the strangers to are alongside the paths we travel. Won’t you join me in practicing this mindfulness and active neighboring we call “Mission Focus?”