John 4:27-34 MKJV And upon this His disciples came and marveled that He talked with the woman. However, no one said, What do You seek, or why do You talk with her? (28) The woman then left her waterpot and went into the city and said to the men, (29) Come see a man who told me all things that I ever did. Is this One not the Christ? (30) And they went out of the city and came to Him. (31) In the meantime His disciples were asking Him, saying, Master, eat. (32) But He said to them, I have food to eat which you do not know. (33) Therefore the disciples said to one another, No one brought Him anything to eat? (34) Jesus said to them, My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me and to finish His work.
The disciples see everything with human eyes – a disreputable woman, a questionable situation, and a lack of food. But Jesus sees with divine eyes – a new believer, a spiritual harvest and the food of doing God’s will.
Spiritual opportunities can sometimes look like social catastrophes. Sharing the gospel with a drunk or with a conspicuous sinner can seem inappropriate, yet it can lead to many others following suit. The Samaritan woman became the evangelist for her whole village.
There are two parts to Jesus’ final comment here (a) to do the will of Him who sent Me and (b) to finish His work. This sustained Jesus because he lived for the Father’s approval. It is easy to rush out to ‘do God’s will” but much harder to “finish” it. It is easy to go for a few weeks to the mission field but much harder to do twenty or more years there. But if we really want to please God then we have to finish the job that He has given us to do.
Ephesians 2:10 MKJV For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to good works, which God has before ordained that we should walk in them.
God has “before ordained” certain good works that we are to walk in as new creations in Christ Jesus and when we do these good works we will know the true satisfaction that is “true food” for the soul.
Often these works appear to be “just common sense” like being honest, or putting up with relatives or loving one’s husband or caring for one’s wife. Good works are often the least spectacular things – like Dorcas who made garments for the widows (Acts 9:36-41). Good works are seldom “on stage” things, done down the front of a large auditorium (though they can be) more commonly they are humble works of grace.
Whatever good works God has assigned to us we should complete them and not leave them half done. Children should be fully and properly raised in the fear of the Lord, people should be “prayed through”, even the church lawn should be mown in a holy and fitting manner.
Some of us get tasks of great sacrifice and tedium – missionary work in hard places, looking after aged relatives, bearing with an impatient husband, or caring for a sick child. All these good works have to be completed and done “as unto the Lord” despite many discouragements.
Now indeed there may come a time to “dust off one’s feet” and move on from the unresponsive area, or to give up a job that is trying and find another, but only if it is accompanied by the peace of God and not as a result of defeatism and discouragement.
Jesus looked past how own social needs (respectability) and physical needs (tiredness, thirst and hunger) to do the Father’s will and to reap a spiritual harvest. We need to be hungry to do God’s will even if it seems in appropriate and inconvenient. The greater desire should be to see spiritual results for God, so when the phone rings late at night with an “inconvenient person” in dire distress we need to give that our full attention (but not if it is just an attention-seeking neurotic who can wait till morning).
Our needs can wait when an urgent Kingdom opportunity presents itself. However we cannot sacrifice others in the same way. We need to be careful if we disappoint children in order to meet an urgent Kingdom opportunity. I once turned down a very prestigious conference in order not to disappoint my wife, who I had been away from for some time and needed me at home. We have to strike a balance.
The Samaritans were ready to believe, the fields were “white unto harvest” and Jesus made the most of it. We need to have a sense that tells us “this is a divine appointment, pay attention, drop everything, God is at work here and is inviting you to join in.”
Your true food, your true-life satisfaction will come when you do God’s will and complete the good works He has fore ordained for you to do.