Just then his disciples returned and were surprised to find him talking with a woman. But no one asked, “What do you want?” or “Why are you talking with her?” Then, leaving her water jar, the woman went back to the town and said to the people, “Come, see a man who told me everything I ever did. Could this be the Messiah?” They came out of the town and made their way toward him. Meanwhile his disciples urged him, “Rabbi, eat something.” But he said to them, “I have food to eat that you know nothing about.” Then his disciples said to each other, “Could someone have brought him food?” “My food,” said Jesus, “is to do the will of him who sent me and to finish his work.“ – John 4:27-34
In John 4, Jesus and his disciples find themselves traveling through the region of Samaria. Taking a break near a well, Jesus sits down while the disciples head into town to find groceries. While they are gone, Jesus strikes up a conversation with a Samaritan lady about water. In less than five minutes, Jesus turns the conversation from water drawn from a well to life-changing, living springs of water.
This interaction eventually leads to a revival of sorts, with many citizens of the town believing in Jesus because of the woman’s testimony (John 4:39).
Sandwiched in-between Jesus’ conversation with the lady and the town revival is the reappearance of the disciples. They had gone to town to buy food and returned to find Jesus having a surprising conversation with a woman.
They must have been successful in finding groceries, because they encourage Jesus to eat something.
“I have food to eat that you know nothing about.”
This confuses the disciples, leading them to think that someone else must have brought Jesus some lunch. As is often the case, the disciples are thinking on a human level (which isn’t hard for humans to do) and Jesus is talking about a spiritual truth.
What food did Jesus have? It wasn’t found in a local grocery store. It was certainly more than just a snack.
“My food is to do the will of him who sent me and to finish his work.”
Physically speaking, food sustains us — it keeps us going. Our bodies need food to have the energy and fuel to navigate whatever our day holds. What sustained Jesus? It was the mission of God.
But it was more than simply knowing the mission of God. For Jesus, it was to do the will of God and to finish his work.
In my work as a pastor, I encounter many people who want to be used by God. They have a desire to serve him and to make a difference in the world. According to Jesus, there are two important principles we must follow:
Clarity is better than confusion.
You have to know the will of God in order to do the will of God. Jesus isn’t elevating action over knowledge. Action without proper knowledge can be chaotic, even dangerous. If I’m about to have open-heart surgery, I want a doctor who has been trained and educated about anatomy and surgery techniques – not someone who is willing to give it a try!
That being said, we can be just as guilty of accumulating knowledge without ever taking action. That is selfish and ultimately disobedient to God.
Dedication beats dabbling.
Dabblers never finish anything. They start a project, see a squirrel, and start a different project – leaving the first project half-finished. The difference-makers in our world are the people who do and finish.
A dabbler can be easily distracted. Even Jesus could have been distracted, with large crowds vying for his attention and people constantly coming to him with questions, needs, and requests.
It takes dedication to stay the course — to do the will of God and to finish his work.
Where does that kind of dedication come from? How can you stay the course when distractions, detours, and dangers abound?
According to Jesus, it all depends on your diet — what you’re eating. When your mission in life becomes your very food, you cannot live for long without being on mission. The mission reenergizes and refuels you in a way that temporary “snacks” never will.
If you want to do something that matters, really matters, then pursue clarity of purpose and when you find it, stick with it.
Experience and Background
- 25+ years of senior leadership experience
- masters in business administration (mba)
- presenter at the WFX National Conference
- former president, Church Planters of the Rockies
- helped start 2 for-profit tech companies
To get a better feel for my style and personality, you can watch past sermons on our YouTube channel.
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I’ve written a few books that might help! You’ll find books on preaching, leadership, Ephesians, as well as my first novel. Follow this link to learn more.