Will you stop for people the way Jesus did?
I once got to meet one of the coolest senior pastors ever: the Harley-riding leader of a church that ministers to 6,000 people each week. With three services, nine new church plants and a growing staff, this man finds time to be a mentor to not one, but to two groups of younger men. He thinks making disciple-makers is important--important enough to model it for his church.
Within seconds of shaking hands with this man he asked me a question: “Who is the most important person in the world?”
Since I’m the one who’s usually asking brain-freeze questions, I was taken aback. I looked puzzled. I looked away. I mumbled. I coughed. I faked a sneeze.
“The person you’re with right now,” he said, letting me off the hook.
A few minutes later he was on stage, explaining to the Sunday crowd how Jesus stopped for people--and how we must stop for people, too.
Jesus stopped for the woman at the well, the Canaanite woman whose daughter was demon-possessed. He stopped for the Roman Centurion with the sick servant, the horizontally-challenged tax collector up in a tree, the ten lepers, the little children, and a whole bunch more. Even when Jesus was on His way to Jerusalem for the last time--to be tortured and killed--He stopped and gave sight to a blind beggar named Bartimaeus (Mark 10).
Jesus stopped for people.
And these weren’t “important” people. Some were sick; others were outcasts. Some were dishonest cheats. Almost none of the people Jesus stopped for could do Him any good. He didn’t scratch their backs so they would scratch His. He just stopped.
Jesus even engaged the crowd to help people come to Him. It'd be like bestselling author, Bob Goff, putting his cellphone number in the back of one of his books. Jesus invited people to bring those in need to Him. A pastor I know once said, "Jesus wanted those around Him to be ushers, not bouncers."
And it wasn’t because Jesus was in need of information. He knew what each person needed before the person asked. But all the same, He stopped...faced the person...and loved him or her…no matter how busy He was.
To this day, He continues to stop for us. Whenever we pray and call out His name, He stops for us and listens to us. He cares about what we care about, especially when we’re in it for others.
I’ve had two tests on this in the last few days. As I drove home (with no time pressure), I passed a lady with a flat tire. I finally talked myself into stopping. I turned around, drove back and offered to help. She nicely told me she’d rather wait for AAA than have me jack up her car.
But a few days later, I’m late for an appointment when I see a lady stranded in the middle of an intersection. A six-lane road. I’d have to go up two red-lights, do a u-turn, drive back by, do another u-turn, and then stop in the middle of the road. And there’s no shoulder to pull over on. I’d already held someone up 15 minutes, so I didn’t stop. I drove on to my appointment. (When I came back by 30 minutes later, her car was gone.)
The difference in these two situations came down to one thing: how much time I perceived I had.
Jesus knew He had little time left in His life, not just in His day.
Yet He stopped.
I can talk all day about loving God, but if I don’t do what Jesus did and focus on the person who’s right there in front of me, I’m missing out on the chance to be the eyes, the smile, the hands and the feet of Jesus.
But to focus on them I have to stop.
I want to be a person who stops for people. Like Jesus did.
Question: Do you stop for people?