A service of Harvest thanksgiving with donations to Syria’s forgotten families appeal and produce to the foodbank
Do you know what it feels like to be really tired and hungry? Jesus did, and rested by a well while his disciples went into the nearby town in search of sustenance. When they returned they found Jesus nearing the end of a conversation with a woman. This was culturally unacceptable, but knowing that Jesus often ignored social taboos none of the disciples said anything, but were no doubt delighted when the Samaritan woman soon took her leave.
The disciples then offered Jesus the food they had bought, only to receive a peculiar response – “I have food to eat that you know nothing about.” They had no idea what he was talking about, so Jesus defined this food – “to do the will of him who sent me and to finish his work.” While they had been away Jesus had been gorging himself on the food of evangelism and had led this Samaritan woman to salvation, and this had brought inner nourishment and sustenance to his soul.
Pause 4 thought – Nothing nourishes the soul more than evangelism, and in particular when someone finds faith in Christ. Have you ever had that experience?
But Jesus was not the only one engaged in evangelism, for the woman returned to the town with an invitation – “Come, see the man who told me everything I ever did. Could this be the Christ?” This was the very same town that the disciples had visited to purchase food, but it would seem that they had not engaged in any evangelism, no doubt for a whole host of reasons – Jesus was tired; their priority was to buy food; the Samaritans were their enemies and so would not listen to their message which ultimately would fall on stony ground. Excuses … Excuses … Excuses!
Pause 4 thought – Have you noticed that when it comes to engaging in evangelism, like the disciples, we often come up with all the excuses that we can muster as to why it is not for us (Ecclesiastes 11 v 4.) What’s your excuse? Is it really valid?
As the towns folk made their way towards Jesus, he was still in dialogue with his disciples changing the metaphor from “food” to “harvest” – “open your eyes and look at the fields! They are ripe for harvest” in that they were about to reap what others (the prophets, John the Baptist and the woman) had sown, enabling both sower and reaper to be “glad together.”
Pause 4 thought – There is no competition in the Lord’s service, some sow and some reap (1 Corinthians 3 v 6 & 8) but both will be rewarded.
When they eventually met Jesus many of the town’s folk believed, and Jesus stayed with them a couple of days to gather in the harvest. They declared Jesus to be – “the Saviour of the world” (c.f – 1 John 4 v 14) and already seemed to have a global missionary vision of an all embracing and undiscriminating God.
Pause 4 thought – Jesus is for everyone and no one is beyond the reach of his loving outstretched arms (John 3 v 16.) Do you believe this? If you do it will have a major impact on your evangelism!
Theme: “What is your favourite food?”
Reading: John 4 v 27 – 42
Preacher: Chris Hughes
Led by: Richard Sills