It’s amazing what 9 watts can do.
A 9-watt lightbulb is a dim night light. Focus that 9-watt light through powerful lenses, and a 9-watt laser can engrave and cut metal.
It’s 9 watts! Same power. Different focus.
Last week, we saw this amazing interaction between Jesus and the Samaritan women. Today (and next week), we’re still in the same “scene,” but the focus shifts slightly as Jesus’ disciples return from their grocery run.
Following this focus, we read in John 4:27, 31-38:
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?”
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?”
John 4:27, 31-38
“My food,” said Jesus, “is to do the will of him who sent me and to finish his work. Don’t you have a saying, ‘It’s still four months until harvest’? I tell you, open your eyes and look at the fields! They are ripe for harvest. Even now the one who reaps draws a wage and harvests a crop for eternal life, so that the sower and the reaper may be glad together. Thus the saying ‘One sows and another reaps’ is true. I sent you to reap what you have not worked for. Others have done the hard work, and you have reaped the benefits of their labor.”
New International Version
While it was controversial that Jesus was talking to a woman in broad daylight (in their culture), the disciples focused on Jesus’ physical needs. He needed to eat, and the disciples returned with some food. Jesus’ response must have been as confusing as why he was talking with the Samaritan woman.
He told them “I have a kind of food you don’t know about” (verse 32). Like the Samaritan woman at the beginning of her encounter with Jesus, Nicodemus (in John 3), and us, they got stuck on the literal and missed the metaphorical.
But Jesus isn’t content to keep us in the dark. He answers their question, and uses it to move them to a deeper understanding. In doing so, He reminds us of the power of a sharp focus.
As has been often said, “Devote a little bit of yourself to everything means devoting a lot of yourself to nothing.” True statement. Jesus knew this before we figured it out. He didn’t dilute himself among several pursuits.
The power of a sharp focus: it creates opportunities for kingdom advances because we are looking for them. Jesus wasn’t looking for food; He knew the Father would provide. Jesus was seeking to be fed by the thrill of obedience to His mission.
He didn’t just sit around thinking “Holy thoughts”. Jesus modeled obedience in action.
Jesus challenged them reminding them the fields are ready for harvest. Continuing the agricultural metaphor, Jesus says in verses 36 and 37, the harvester and planter are joined together in the same mission: a healthy crop. Since the harvest is so close, he receives his pay. This entire expression and explanation are based on Amos 9:13.
In other words, says Jesus, “Open your eyes! The harvest is happening!” This is why Jesus could say with such confidence “Without lifting a finger, you have walked in on a field worked long and hard by others.” They were witnessing a miracle. And they were going to miss it by a loss of focus.
How many times have you and I missed the miraculous work of God because our focus was somewhere else? Maybe our gaze was fixed on so many different things, we just couldn’t see.
Jesus challenges us to use His lens and create a laser-sharp focus on His Kingdom’s work.
How’s your focus?