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John 4:31-35

John 4:31-35

(click here for the full lesson)

31 Meanwhile his disciples urged him, “Rabbi, eat something.”

32 But he said to them, “I have food to eat that you know nothing about.”

33 Then his disciples said to each other, “Could someone have brought him food?”

34 “My food,” said Jesus, “is to do the will of him who sent me and to finish his work. 35 Do you not say, ‘Four months more and then the harvest’? I tell you, open your eyes and look at the fields! They are ripe for harvest.

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“He would rather golf than eat.” Do you know someone who is a real fanatic about something? In your opinion, is that person’s obsession healthy or unhealthy?

It’s amazing how passionate some people are about a particular area of their life -their work, their sports, or their hobbies. There’s certainly nothing wrong with taking a strong interest in something, but we can take it too far. Certain warning signs appear. For example, we suddenly lose interest in everything else except our obsession. Our relationships suffer. We lose sleep. We miss meals.

In a way Jesus had an obsession like that. In the verses you’ve just read, Jesus’ obsession made him miss a meal -and he didn’t seem to care. On other occasions Jesus lost sleep over his obsession. It caused friction between him and his family. It got him in trouble with the authorities. It even cost him his life.

Unhealthy? Certainly not in Jesus’ case! Jesus was obsessed with saving souls. That was why he had come to earth. To him, nothing else was nearly as important- not even eating. Thanks to Jesus’ obsession with saving souls, his mission was a success. He made complete atonement for the sins of the world. He founded his church -the community of those he has saved- and he has given his church the mission of saving even more people, through the proclamation of his Word and the administration of the sacraments.

The Holy Spirit, whom Jesus has sent to dwell within us, longs for the salvation of souls just as much as Jesus did. He motivates and empowers us to continue reaping the harvest the Lord has prepared.

Let’s give the Spirit his way with us. When we do, perhaps we’ll find ourselves becoming a bit fanatical -a bit obsessed- with bringing souls to meet their Savior. Who knows? We might even miss a meal once in a while.

Prayer: Dear Lord, give me zeal to spread your Word. Help me be obsessed with using the gifts you have given me to do your work. Amen.