Defining Moments: Week 6
Some defining moments are teachable moments through which you can influence others in a positive way. No matter who you are, or what you do, there are people you influence. If you are a parent or a grandparent, an aunt or uncle, if you are a manager, owner, or director of anything, a teacher, a trainer or a coach; an advisor, an attorney, or a health care provider. They look to you to understand what is valuable and important.
To our high school students, younger kids look up to you all the time. That’s why I love to see high school students or college students volunteering in church.
The elders among us hold the privileged ability to influence us with the wealth of their experience, and those who are sick or suffering can fill that role in an especially powerful and even noble way.
No matter who you are you can influence people around you. And some moments are just made for it. We refer to these as teachable moments.
We’re looking at an episode early in Jesus’ ministry that was a quintessential teaching moment for his friends and followers, impressing on them a core value that drove his life and gave power and purpose to his work.
Jesus went to Peter’s house where Peter’s mother-in-law was sick. Jesus immediately heals her. Jesus then spends the evening healing people which is both physically and spiritually exhausting. While Jesus loved to heal people, it was not the driving purpose of his life, it was not the value that directed his life. After these healings, we discover the number one value and number one priority in Jesus’ life.
Jesus had a habit of getting up very early in the morning to spend time with his heavenly Father. He did it first thing in the morning so that his time with his Father would direct his day and his actions.
We hear in the gospel today, after Jesus healed people, he spends some time to connect to his Father in prayer, away from everyone else when suddenly he is interrupted by Peter.
Peter pursued Jesus, was hunting him down, and was filled with excitement. Jesus was gaining rock star status and Peter was his right hand man.
We’ve all experienced the pressure to let other people’s opinions and agendas run our schedule and rule our lives. And sometimes that pressure can be very intense. The urgency of other people’s expectations for us can be very hard to resist.
We feel the pressure from friends and family, from our customers or clients. While we certainly have responsibilities to all those people, we’ve got to be careful not to allow their opinions of what we should or shouldn’t be doing to be the guiding factor of our lives. That isn’t the formula for a happy life, a successful life, or the life God wants for you.
So Peter comes to Jesus with energy and excitement, but Jesus chooses to step back and use this moment as an opportunity to interact with Peter at a higher level.
Teachable moments require a change of pace. Jesus has the presence of mind not to get caught up in the pressure Peter is putting on him. Instead, he sees this moment as an opportunity to teach Peter. Jesus capitalizes on this moment to teach a valuable lesson to the man that eventually he will put in charge of the movement Jesus will call the Church.
Jesus uses this moment to teach Peter the value that drove his whole life. He teaches Peter that he does not live for the crowd. Instead, Jesus lived for an audience of one, the audience of God the Father.
He connected with his heavenly Father on a daily basis
and it was God’s plan and purpose that drove Jesus’ actions and agenda. Even more important to Jesus than healing people was fulfilling the will of his Father.
If you think about it, this is a pivotal moment.
If Jesus had only listened to the crowd, his ministry would have been confined to that one little town of Capernaum. He would have been a big fish for sure, but in a very small pond.
But because he lived for an audience of One, that One being God the Father, his ministry became a world-wide, world changing ministry. Jesus did not get caught up in the pressures of the moment, but rather he seized the moment to teach Peter an incredibly important lesson going forward.
And he could seize the moment precisely because he had a clear understanding of his highest priority and purpose. Jesus leveraged the moment of crowds vying for his attention to teach Peter the importance of making God’s purpose the number one priority in his life. This was an incredibly valuable lesson for Peter if he was going to lead the Church in the future.
So I ask you, what is the highest priority, or greatest value, that you want to pass on to the people you lead or influence?
Jesus could teach Peter an important value because he knew what he valued and what was important to him. He was willing to suffer the loss of popularity to serve the will of his Father. And that must have made an incredible impression upon Peter.
What about you? What one or two values or priorities do you most want to impress upon the people you influence?
The people who are under your authority, or in your sphere of influence, look to you as an example of the correct priorities in life. But, at some point your time of influence will end.
Your employees will move on, your class or team will move up, and your kids will move out and go to college. And when they look back at their time with you, they will remember a few key moments in which you taught them something, positive or negative.
Hopefully, you will pass on a lesson in what you value. They’ll remember a time when you sacrificed money, or popularity, or comfort so that you could defend the values you hold. They’ll remember the times when they saw you passionately defend your priority.
While you can’t plan for teachable moments, you can prepare for them by knowing what is most important, by staying focused on the main thing. And that best happens in a daily prayer time. We will help you do that. Here is how.
Sign up for one of our three conversation groups which will help you pray, and help you identify what you value the most. Just go to our website or see a member of our staff after Mass to sign up. The groups begin February 21 which is two weeks from today.
We want to help you live the kind of life God is calling you to live by helping you identify what is most important in your life and help you take that to prayer. We will show you how to do that in our 3 conversation groups, and we will do it with you. We will teach you so that you can also teach others, like the people you love the most.
These three conversations could be some of the most important moments in your life.
Moments matter. Because life comes down to a series of defining moments, often they are teachable moments like our 3 conversation groups. And in each moment of your life, God is at work. These three conversations could be some of the most important moments in your life.