Easter is right around the corner and it’s so important to focus on this day. But don’t get caught up and miss the opportunities leading up to Easter.

Easter is coming! Don’t worry this is not another reminder about how Easter is your church’s “Super Bowl.” This isn’t encouragement to splurge on your stage design, update the lighting rig or plan an elaborate Easter outreach event. 

Those can all be great things, but this blog is actually quite the opposite.

Jesus did some amazing things during His earthly ministry. The resurrection is at the top of the list. Enough said! But some of my favorite stories from Jesus’ ministry are from His unhurried interactions with people that no one else noticed. Here are a few highlights.

The Samaritan Woman at the Well (John 4:1-42)

Aware of a potential conflict with the Pharisees and how this would disrupt God’s intended timing, Jesus travels away from Jerusalem and back towards Galilee. Most Jews would have chosen to travel east, avoiding the hated Samaritans entirely. Not Jesus. He knew that traveling through Samaria was the right path. He saw the Samaritan woman and what she needed most. This simple sermon to an audience of one was transformative to the Samaritan Woman and the town that she lived in. Of course, unhurried, Jesus accepts the invitation to stay for two days, “And because of his words many more became believers.”

The Healing of Blind Bartimaeus (Mark 10:46-52, Luke 18:35-43)

Outside of Jericho, a blind man named Bartimaeus called out to Jesus for mercy. There is a big crowd with Jesus who tried to hush the man, considering their journey ahead. Despite the commotion and the importance of His mission, Jesus stopped, spoke with Bartimaeus and healed him. The scriptures tell us that Bartimaeus received his sight and followed Jesus and that those that witnessed this praised God.

Zacchaeus the Tax Collector (Luke 19:1-10)

Jesus took time to engage with Zacchaeus, a despised tax collector, even though there was a large crowd clamoring for His time and attention. Jesus called him down from the tree and went to his house. This encounter led to Zacchaeus' repentance and a declaration of salvation. It also acted as a beautiful example of loving the least lovable among us. 

The Woman with the Issue of Blood (Mark 5:25-34, Luke 8:43-48)

In the midst of a large crowd, a woman who had been suffering from a hemorrhage for twelve years reached out to touch the hem of Jesus' garment, believing she would be healed. There was a pressing crowd and the urgency of a synagogue leader, Jairus, who needed Jesus' help for his dying daughter. Despite these external factors, Jesus stopped and acknowledged the woman. He commended her faith and healed her.

When I read these stories, it always makes me want to be the type of person that is not too busy, hurried or focused on “my task” to notice those around me. I spent 10 years serving the church through vocational ministry. I’m ashamed to admit that Easter usually felt like a finish line that I was fixated on for months. Because of this, I often lost sight of my neighbors' needs.

Jesus never allowed the urgency of the people around Him to dictate His actions. He never became so fixated on the destination that he lost sight of the people right in front of Him. 

So that’s my prayer for you, Church leader. 

  • I pray that the urgency of our “Super Bowl” does not cause you to miss the urgency of the interactions right in front of you. 
  • I pray that God grants you energy for both Easter services and the interactions with people leading up to those services. 
  • I pray that He gives you as many opportunities for connection in your neighborhood as He does in your church building. 
  • I pray that you find as much time with God as you do time for Easter sermon prep.

May you find the space in your day to slow down and be available to be used by the Spirit as He sees fit. The most important ministry you do this year might be in the parking lot at the grocery store or in the waiting room of the doctors office. 

Thank you for loving and serving His church. You and your work matter. And Happy Easter!