Nuisance

” . . . nuisance . . . “
“We found this man to be a dangerous nuisance; he starts riots among Jews all over the world and is a leader of the party of the Nazarenes.” (Acts 24:5)
 
I’m sure you’ve seen the photos of animals cuddling together that you might not expect to do such a thing.  We paused for lunch one day during our mission work project this past June and looked across a field.  About a hundred yards off in the distance we was this pair hanging out together.  At first I thought, “Wow, that red-winged blackbird is being a real nuisance.  I’ll bet that deer is really irritated.”  However, the deer never attempted to remove the bird, and even seemed perfectly okay when the bird moved from his back to his head.
Okay, what’s going on?  I thought the bird was a nuisance to the deer, but apparently they have a different idea about their relationship.  We watched as the bird made several landings and take-offs from the deer.  It was almost like the deer was the bird’s land-based aircraft carrier.
I guess it can make a big difference in a lot of ways if we see someone as a nuisance or an opportunity.  In the passage from Acts I quoted above, the Apostle Paul was in court, accused of being a nuisance.  He was a nuisance for a few, but the bearer of God’s good news of amazing grace in Christ for many others.  Paul’s faithfulness in the face of being called a nuisance changed lives yesterday and continues even to this day.

Children are considered a nuisance by some.  Remember the famous line from W.C. Fields, “Get away from me kid, you bother me!”  Even churches can sometimes treat children as nuisances instead of opportunities.  That’s a little scary if you stop to think about it.

I want to be honest. I think it’s easy to see someone as a nuisance.  If I’m tired, hurried, overly focused on something, it’s easy to have someone stumble into my path and see them as a nuisance, a problem that stands between me and what I’m trying to accomplish.  Haven’t you experienced that as well?  “I need to ______, but now I have to deal with _____ !”  Maybe that’s startling to know that a pastor could think such as that, but I’m being honest because I think it’s one of those natural, powerful occurrences that happens to all of this.  I also think this thought and feeling is like others – you can’t always prevent yourself from having the thought or feeling, but it’s what you do with it that will make a huge difference in life.

When I feel or hear the “nuisance alarm” go off I have to literally stop and remind myself that this person, this situation is not a nuisance, but rather an opportunity – an opportunity to love like Jesus loves me.  Loving can be hard work, can’t it?  Loving is not something we simply glide right through on auto-pilot.  Loving requires a lot of self-examination, self-awareness, self-correction, and self-redirection.  Often times the difficulty we have in loving another person comes more from what we bring to the moment than what they bring.  Yet how easy it is to walk away from a moment, and mumble, “Well, they’re just such a nuisance,” or, “Why are they just so difficult?”

Moving from nuisance to opportunity means both parties share the possibility of being blessed by the moment.  I pray that God will help me be aware of whatever feelings or thoughts I might be having that could destroy an opportunity for loving like Jesus and experiencing blessings for all.  How about you?

Blessings and Peace,

Gary

Pastor, Cross Lanes United Methodist Church

Cross Lanes, West Virginia

Help save lives! For more information on my book, “A Relentless Hope: Surviving the Storm of Teen Depression,” visit http://www.survivingteendepression.com.

My other book, “Wednesday Wonderings: Spiritual Journaling Through a Lens” is available at http://www.wipfandstock.com and http://www.amazon.com.

Check out my video, “Teens Surviving the Storm” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o1hSpxC_G24

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~ by revgenelson on August 24, 2016.

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