Hi Pastor Ariel, are you busy?
He looked up from his desk and the documents he was reading.
“No, Joe, come in. What’s up? How are you liking your time here?”
“Well, it’s been great, Pastor Ariel. I’m meeting many great people.”
“Oh, that’s good. Are you able to balance your schedule though?”
“A little bit… I’m still getting used to the drive and the toll fees.”
“Yeah, I guess it’s an adjustment because you lived so near to Ortigas when you were based there.”
On and on we went. I popped in to ask him a question, and we ended up talking for an hour. That was seven years ago. The subject of the conversation has been forgotten, but I can’t forget how my busy senior pastor and boss made time for me.
It got me thinking about myself and my preoccupation with speed and rushing. What was the deal behind wanting to seem busy? Why was it so important that others know that I had very little time to spare? When did being the most busy person in the world become an admirable position?
Now, I’m not talking about being lazy, idle, or doing nothing all day. But I’m talking about our manner, our disposition, our attitude to people who interrupt us, or our response when things don’t go the way we plan.
I realized that I would get mad when someone interrupted me. When someone is incompetent and blocks me on the road, I wish they never drove at all. Without even saying anything, my facial expressions already communicate that I don’t want to be stuck with this person. I had this quotation on my desk for years as God revealed my own pride in this area:
If you are easily irritated or short-tempered with other people, you have to face the fact that you’re self-centered. Remember that your feelings are not the most important things in the world.
Pastor Ariel was (and still is) a very busy man. He’s led his church from several hundred to several thousand members. The finances are in order (probably from his training as an accountant). His leaders make disciples consistently. He’s planted churches and even has time to coach international pastors. Did I mention he’s a triathlete?
But he doesn’t sound impatient, harassed, irritable, or too busy for you when you talk to him. Maybe that contributes to the effectiveness.
But more than that, I believe it’s from a deep humility that knows he’s not the center of the world. And that’s something that we can get from Jesus. My blog on Friday will examine how Jesus responds to interruption as well as some practical ways to apply this.