I didn’t intend to make New Year’s Resolutions, it just sort of happened. It’s the sort of thing that Dan likes to do, though it doesn’t make sense to me why he enjoys it so much since he’s not much of a planner. Despite these goals, all my attempts at fulfilling them for the past month and a half have been in vain, including putting my relationship with Jesus as a priority for as important of a reason as wanting to eat lunch instead of attending to the harvest. And if you don’t get what I mean by that last metaphor, you’ll see what I mean in a minute.
Yesterday, at church, Joe Boyd started a new series called Barriers with a talk about 10 barriers Jesus breaks through with us and the Samaritan woman at the well found in John 4. Two of the barriers that resonated with me were “The Expectancy Barrier (v. 25-26)” and “The Priority Barrier (v. 27-38)”. In verse 20, the Samaritan woman asks Jesus a question about the proper place to worship, a seemingly side issue compared to the revelation Jesus just disclosed to her. Yet Jesus indulges her and gives her an answer that I don’t think she completely understands. With that, she to all intents and purposes seems to be ending the conversation by saying that all these things will be revealed when the Messiah comes. Perhaps because of the emotional breakthrough or because she doesn’t want to undertake all that it would require to truly know the meaning behind what Jesus is saying, she implies she wants to put off pursuing the conversation any longer… until Jesus states that it is He who is the Messiah. What’s ironic about the whole thing is that it is at this moment that Jesus’ disciples come back. And it is here that they do the same thing. They put off what Jesus is asking them to do-to look at the fields and notice that the harvest is plentiful. There are people right here, right before them who are ready to hear the gospel and accept Jesus as Lord and Messiah! But all the disciples can think about is Jesus eating lunch. They’re missing the fact that Jesus isn’t talking about eating food, the sustenance that comes from hand to mouth, just as the Samaritan woman didn’t understand that Jesus wasn’t talking about an actual flowing spring of water that satisfies thirsty lips. Examining Jesus’ interaction with the woman and with the disciples we can see Jesus’ agenda versus the human agenda. We can look at the “transcript” and say, “How could they miss what Jesus was saying?” However, I look at the woman’s reaction and the disciples’ reaction and can’t help but think if I were in their situation I would’ve responded the same. Because I just don’t think in spiritual matters most of the time. I settle with the trivial and can’t often see more beyond it. I, like the disciples often trade a “good lunch” instead of skipping it “for something better.”
What have I been doing the past couple months? Eating lunch. Between the holidays, we celebrated my daughters’ birthdays which I put a lot of effort into making them special for them, and caring for my children and husband as they caught the cold and flu. It all makes sense. To a degree. My whole perfectionistic attitude with my daughters’ birthdays definitely got out of hand, which is a story I will save for another post. But it makes sense when you have a human agenda. What’s the harm of these things? They are part of the everyday. But when you place the everyday before spiritual matters, before the One you should never put off. There may be reason to skip a meal in order to make time for the Lord, my Heavenly Father and true Valentine.