Finish His Work
I almost didn’t start well.
A couple of months ago, I became interested in the idea of doing a blog in which I would write about God’s love and truth – which I set out to do with my usual high levels of excitement, drive and focus.
Almost immediately, my computer crashed and a good amount of time was given to finding a new computer, learning new programs and recovering what I could. Delays!
Then I became distracted by the whole process of setting up a blog. The researcher and designer parts of me kicked into full gear and I started to read (and sign up to) lots of blogs talking about how to write, how set up a blog, how to choose a blog theme, design a blog, code a blog, make coding changes to that theme so that I too, could have the blog of my dreams. For weeks I read and researched, and ran down a few rabbit trails. I finally became discouraged and overwhelmed. Too much information, too much to learn, too many blogs to read…I had lost the plot – even before I started!
This morning I read a familiar story in the gospel of John (chapter 4). Jesus has walked a long way and he is tired. He sits down at a well to rest while his disciples go into town to buy some food. As he waits there, a woman comes along and he engages in conversation with her by asking her to draw some water from the well so that he may drink. She is astounded that he would talk to someone of her race (the dreaded Samaritan, for those of you in the know). But what really amazes her is when he has prophetic revelation of her promiscuous lifestyle and points out to her that he knows that she has had 5 husbands and perhaps more than one lover. But rather than judge her, he talks to her in a way that tells her that God is interested in her. Excitedly, she runs back to the village to gather up people who normally would not give her the time of day.
Wake up and Look Around
In the meantime, the disciples have returned and are puzzled to find Jesus (a Jew) talking to a Samaritan woman. They are too afraid to question him, so they urge him to eat instead. But suddenly, Jesus is no longer interested in the food that they have brought. I can almost picture the focused gleam to his eye as he replies, “My nourishment comes from doing the will of God, who sent me, and from finishing his work.”
This astounding response by Jesus is followed by an oft quoted exhortation that all evangelicals like to hang their hat on. Jesus tells them (and us) to “wake up” and “look around” – the fields are already ripe for harvest – and that harvest is: “people brought to eternal life.” We usually look at this passage in isolation and as a call to evangelize; rather than in context of the ‘Woman at the Well.’ At this moment, however, Jesus is not trying to send his disciples out on an evangelistic mission.
What I believe he is saying is, “Open your eyes to see what God is doing right where you are now! Open your eyes to those around you who are ready to hear, and need to know, that God does not reject them. If you put aside your own religious agenda and misconceptions, you will get to ‘harvest’ what God has been busy ‘planting’ – you will get to finish his work.“
Lots of people start well. We have good intentions, yet it is all too easy to become distracted and focused on our own agenda of what is good and what we think needs to be done. Thus, we neglect to be fully present to God and to what He is doing. He has, after all, done most of the hard work, and as a result, there is a field of opportunity, right where we are at, in which he invites us to help him finish his work.
I needed to hear that today.
- To be encouraged there is an unseen reality, full of opportunity, that God wants to share with me!
- To be encouraged that even writing a blog can reap a harvest, if that is what God is doing in my life right now.
And while it is nice to have a designer website, and good SEO means more readers, etc… I am wasting time and energy focused on my own agenda while he has already prepared a harvest.
What about you? What distractions do you face that keep you from being present to God and what He is doing in your immediate vicinity?
Are you discouraged? Jesus was tired, but when he engaged with God’s agenda, he was re-energized.
In what ways are you failing to see things from God’s perspective? Are you pursuing your own agenda?
What does it mean to you to “finish his work”?
Read John 4:4-42
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I really like the blog Diane. Your words are encouraging and thought provoking. I think for me, if I’m to be really honest, discouragement can and does manifest itself as distraction. Because I am discouraged I will put God on the back burner. Because he has been silent for too many years I have chosen to stop listening at times. I have disconnected, yet still hunger for the family of God…just not sure where. In light of this, I know I should be hungering for God rather than people, though people and the family of God is important as well. So you have it, a woman who desires to be close to God, transformed by God, living a life of grace rather than disappointment.
Diane, I enjoy your honesty and transparency. It isn’t comfortable or easy when our church life and ministry changes – or when we lose those things. It is challenging to hear God’s voice in the silence when we are used to hearing it through our ministry/activity/relationships. We are in the same boat that way. But I share your heart expressed in your words, “So you have it, a woman who desires to be close to God, transformed by God, living a life of grace rather than disappointment.” These are good words.
I hear the challenge in my heart to move forward from what was in the past to take a hold of that for which Christ Jesus took a hold of me. I really am searching for a truer and deeper love of God that transcends (but will eventually lend itself to) ministry and relationship, believing that this is really what I need more than anything else.
I want to move forward I just don’t know the direction anymore. I will keep looking though and maybe, just maybe, I will have enough vision and enough discernment to grasp hold of a measure of truth again.
Have you read “Waiting and Hoping – Part 1”? What you are saying here connects with the thoughts that I expressed in this post, I think.