Thursday, September 24, 2020

The Benefits of 24/7 Access, Without Limitations

Over the years, I’ve been in many business meetings where the general rule was, “Absolutely no interruptions.” Staff not participating in the meetings knew they were not to intrude, barring legitimate emergencies – or maybe an approaching tornado. 

In today’s world, the ubiquity of cellphones has made that rule more difficult to enforce. But at times, to prevent any and all distractions, even smartphones are designated off limits – much to the dismay of the electronically addicted. If the desire is to ensure everyone’s undivided attention, it might be necessary to prevent the invasion of calls, texts, emails, or even game-playing during lulls.


Many times, however, I’ve seen a recurring exception: when someone’s child (especially the boss’s), really needs to talk to mom or dad, and right now. Many top executives, when approached by their offspring, willingly put meetings on pause for a few moments to address their children’s concerns.


Calls from important customers or clients may be responded to with a polite, “Tell them I’ll have to call them back.” But if little Will or Susie calls or requires a brief audience, a five-minute meeting break is often announced. Maybe even encouraged, especially if the corporate culture is family-oriented.


In the home, this is also the case. Each of us who are parents know what it’s like to be awakened out of sound slumber by a son or daughter that needs us. It might have been a bad dream, an upset tummy, or the proverbial monster under the bed, but they know that they’ve got full and immediate access to mom or dad until the crisis is resolved.


One reason I think about this because it’s the same – in a far more profound way – in our relationship with God. Our Heavenly Father is never too busy, distracted or preoccupied when we need to talk with Him. This is why Hebrews 4:16 tells us, “Therefore let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.”


I’m constantly amazed knowing there’s no way we could do this with the President of the United States, the CEO of a major corporation, a star athlete, media celebrity, or the head of the college where you or your children attend. 


Part of it is because we don’t have a personal relationship with them. But beyond that, they all have levels of importance that prohibit “ordinary people” to approach them in an impromptu way. For each of God’s children, however, any day, at any time, we never have to meet a “Do not disturb” or “Positively no interruptions” sign.


In fact, one of the first Bible verses I ever learned instructs us to “pray without ceasing” (1 Thessalonians 5:17). In other words, God welcomes an ongoing interaction with us throughout the day. This is affirmed by Jesus’ promise to His followers, “I am with you always, even to the end of the age” (Matthew 28:20). 


We’re never to feel like we’re on the outside looking in to catch the Lord’s attention. In fact, it’s much the opposite. A familiar passage, Revelation 3:20, gives the image of Jesus being on the outside, waiting for our invitation to enter: “Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me.”


Putting it another way, the Lord is assuring us, “I’m here for you, 24/7, no exceptions, no limitations. I’m available when you are. My door is always open.” Isn’t that good to know?

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