Do not disturb

Sharper Focus

by Victor Leslie, Major – 

Rewind to the first century.

It was coming to the end of another hectic day in the city of Bethlehem. Pilgrims who had made the journey for the census had invaded the place, and the locals were affected by it. All day, this city of David was overcrowded and impossible to navigate. The word on the street was that residents wished for things to be normal again. By nightfall, their actions validated their thoughts as they mentally hung do not disturb signs on the doors of their existence and the city became like a graveyard as the residents prepared for an uneventful night.

But then—BAM! Enter Christ! In the stable, Jesus is born and on the stroke of his birth the do not disturb signs fly off the handle of the door of life in Bethlehem. Into the night, for all to hear, comes the enhanced audio, rich full stereo, surround sound of a choir of angels, singing “Glory to God in the Highest.” From the pastures, there is applause and jubilation about the new Messiah and not even Bose headphones could have neutralized the noise and excitement of the shepherds running to see the Prince of Peace (Luke 2:8-20). So much for do not disturb!

As Jesus ministered, he made it clear that he intended to agitate the equilibrium of the people’s religious and social life and immediately created a lot of drama by stating, “I’ve come to start a fire on this earth…I’ve come to change everything, turn everything right-side up! Do you think I came to smooth things over and make everything nice? Not so. I’ve come to disrupt and confront” (Luke 12:49-51, The Message).

His was a revolutionary agenda, challenging the rulers of his time, calling for the overthrow of evil and injustice in society and passionately dismantling corrupt systems that allowed oppression of the poor and insincere worship. Jesus turned things, people, establishments and the world upside down. He worked to “set the captives free” (Luke 4:18) and ate with sinners to convert and heal them (Mark 2:16). His entrance into Jerusalem on a donkey caused such a disturbance that the city turned against him and demanded his death. And in death, he still could not be controlled. In fact, his death disturbed the rocks that held the dead, and the dead came to life. So much for do not disturb!

Fast forward to the twenty-first century!

It is coming to the end of another hectic year. The towns are inundated with shoppers who are milking the Christmas season and locals are NOT affected by the message of Christmas. The word on the street is that residents clearly enjoy the culture of death, sin and addiction to materialism. The frenzy for new tech gadgets, the counter-culture against Christian values, the constant temptations to overeat, over-medicate and over— are meters of a spirit of compromise, and actions authenticate a determination to hang do not disturb signs on the doors of their lives. The atmosphere is dead and dark and few people question it.

And, BAM! Enter Christ! He moves among us, bold, distinctive and uncompromising, and he is not driving a Hummer H1 Alpha. Instead, he is driving home his message that it is he who is like nothing else, the Alpha and Omega (Revelation 1:8). He challenges our priorities and possessions, text messaging “seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need” (Matthew 6:33). He creates more drama, disturbing our comfort and callousness by trumpeting, “if anyone wants to be first, he must be the very last, and the servant of all” (Mark 9:35, NIV). He confronts us about sin and condemns hypocrisy in our religion—“these people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me, their worship is a farce” (Matthew 15:8-9, NLT). In every situation, the resurrected Jesus is there and through the witness of the Holy Spirit, we cannot avoid him. So much for do not disturb!

Do you have a do not disturb sign on your heart? Turn it around! Let Jesus come in. He will remake your life, shifting it from bland to beautiful, from grave to grace. With Jesus, there is always hope and joy, beauty and balance, a new day and another chance.

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