S (Scripture): John 4:31 Meanwhile the disciples were urging [Jesus], “Rabbi, eat something.” 32 But he said to them, “I have food to eat that you know nothing about.” 33 So the disciples began to say to one another, “No one brought him anything to eat, did they?” 34 Jesus said to them, “My food is to do the will of the one who sent me and to complete his work. 35 Don’t you say, ‘There are four more months and then comes the harvest?’ I tell you, look up and see that the fields are already white for harvest! 36 The one who reaps receives pay and gathers fruit for eternal life, so that the one who sows and the one who reaps can rejoice together. 37 For in this instance the saying is true, ‘One sows and another reaps.’ 38 I sent you to reap what you did not work for; others have labored and you have entered into their labor.”
O (Observation): While the Samaritan woman is off telling her friends and family about Jesus (Is he the Messiah?) the disciples come back to Jesus and they try to get him to eat something. But his food is only to do God’s will. (They don’t get it, by the way…they think someone grabbed some food for him while they were gone.)
Jesus is reminding them that all of what God has done has led to this moment. Others (Samaritans) have come to share their faith in God. Those folks then invited others to believe. Now, Jesus has come, and encourages the disciples to continue God’s work. They are to go out and continue to bring people to faith in God on earth, Jesus.
The disciples are the laborers. The harvest (in part) are these Samaritans who are starting to believe.
A (Application): Quite often, we put the emphasis on the wrong part of the story. A lot of Christians think the more people we can convert to Christianity the more notches we get in our “spiritual belt.” This line of thinking can lead to a lack of humility, which reeks havoc on one’s faith: What if I don’t convert enough people? What if somebody else has converted more to people than me?
Don’t get me wrong, I would love for as many people in the world to believe in Jesus as the Christ. But as I mentioned before, I think this story leads to different emphasis for us.
I think the story is about vigilance – vigilance to be ready at any time to prepare for someone to be led to faith in Jesus Christ. This vigilance could be about planting seeds or harvesting crops. Vigilance could be about introducing somebody to the love of Jesus Christ for the first time (through your actions or words) or about helping them to become part of the Christian community through baptism.
For me, this work is done in my dialogue with folks of the LGBT community, as well as folks in the Muslim community. Separate communities, but I do my all to help share faith and love of Jesus Christ to everyone I meet. I know I fail miserably at times, but this is how I interpret God wanting me to do his work in my community. I (imperfectly) share God’s love with others…and I call on you to do the same. This isn’t it weakness. This is strength. For that love may not be reciprocated. Or worse, this can bring criticism from within the Christian community…Kind of like how the Jesus-followers of old were slandered for consorting with Samaritans.
We share love because we’ve been loved by God. We show grace, because we’ve been shown grace by God.
We are to remain vigilant. Disregard the numbers. Disregard the disrespect others show to you.
P (Prayer): Lord, help us to be fed by doing God’s will. Amen.