My Daddy created a box with dowel rods that threaded through the top edge from side to side. Each rod had strategically placed tiny rods glued into it that stuck straight up, or down depending on the spin of the rod. It was a homemade version of today's Foosball game. We played for hours and competition ran high. We looked forward to family gatherings and the uncles who would take us up on the challenge to beat us. When the call was sounded to eat, we'd groan in protest, not wanting to interrupt the fierce playing. Child's play was our work, and we loved it.
These days there are marathons of Candy Land and Chutes and Ladders with the grand kids. Now we're on the other end of just play one more game..., please..
As an adult there have been other times when work was more important than eating--finishing up yard work on a pleasant summer evening, waiting on the ubiquitous line of customers at the craft show, or lingering past supper time at the coffee shop when a friend needs a listening ear. Anytime we get so caught up in an activity or service that stomach growls and gurgles go unnoticed, the fulfillment of the moment has captured our senses.
Recently as I read John 4, I found Jesus in this kind of concentration. Weary from travel, Jesus takes a break by the town well and sends the guys into town to fetch something to eat. A Samaritan woman comes to use the well. Jesus engages her in conversation. After listening to her heart, bringing her into revelation of who he is, gently exposing her failures and ultimately convincing her to receive his living water, the disciples come back from the grocery run eager to share the food they found. As they see Jesus speaking with a despised Samaritan and a woman, to add to the disgrace, the food has suddenly lost it's luster. They quietly stand by waiting until the woman leaves. Jesus doesn't reach for the food or ask what's for lunch. In fact he seems far away in thought, waiting for something. They must have offered the food several times, urging Jesus to eat. He finally answers them, “I have food to eat that you know nothing about.” The disciples probably had one of those pondering- in- heart moments when they just had to shake their heads and wait to see what Jesus was up to now.
Then Jesus says, “My food, is to do the will of him who sent me and to finish his work." He goes on to point out that harvest time is several more months away, but in God's kingdom the harvest is ripe and ready to gather now. Jesus was driven by passion to bring in the harvest.
I am challenged to consider where my passion lies. Am I even looking at the harvest fields? Would I recognize a ripe head of wheat if I saw one? Am I ready to give up other pursuits to invest the time it might take to befriend someone who needs to know God's love?
Father, whet my appetite for the food Jesus ate at the Samaritan well. May you find me willing and ready to be sent wherever you would lead me. Thank you for making us to live not only by earthly food, but by every word that comes from your mouth. May my ears be tuned to hear you.