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September 19, 2021 | Doug Sauder
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“Jesus said to them, ‘My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me, and to finish His work.’”—John 4:34 (NKJV)
Let’s be real: Food is important.
According to most reliable sources, three weeks is the maximum amount of time the average human can survive without food. I’ve never fasted more than five days, and even that was brutal. If you aren’t prepared, it doesn’t take very long to become anxious, wondering if you’re capable of making it another minute without eating. Sometimes fasters even question their purpose on earth because of pure exhaustion.
In John 4, the disciples mention Jesus needing food. Who knows how long it’s been since poor Jesus had a snack, but the urgency they provide doesn’t exactly indicate that he’s been feasting recently.
“Rabbi, eat something” (John 4:31 NIV). That doesn’t sound like much of a request. But Jesus calmly responds, saying He has food they didn’t know He had. But Jesus wasn’t talking about literal food. “’My food,’ said Jesus, ‘is to do the will of him who sent me and to finish his work’” (John 4:34 NIV).
To be clear, Jesus wasn’t saying that he didn’t need food. He was 100 percent human, so he did need sustenance to survive. But it wasn’t food that kept Him going. Amidst His hunger, He remembered His purpose, and His purpose was what kept Him going. When I’m hungry and tired, I do not respond like that. You feel me?
I can guarantee that Jesus was exhausted and hungry, but He continued walking in the will of the Father. And we have the same purpose, to walk with the Father and to finish His work. When we try to add onto that or take away from it, we hit a physical, spiritual, or emotional wall. Maybe not right away, but eventually the exhaustion of operating outside of our purpose starts to take a toll on our souls. When we anxiously create purpose for ourselves (as though that ever actually works), we rob ourselves of the light load that God has promised to us when walking in His purpose.
In the same way that we feel exhaustion when we neglect food, we feel exhaustion in life when we neglect our purpose. Thankfully, we have a kind Father who never goes on without us. He’s continuously forgiving and ready to take the extra load off our shoulders and remind us of our purpose in Him. Even when we’re physically hungry, it’s His purpose in us that keeps us going.
DIG: Read John 4:27-38 and Matthew 6:25-33.
DISCOVER: Do you know God’s purpose for your life? He has good plans for you, to prosper you and bring life to your soul. Seek His Word, and go to Him in prayer asking what it is that He has specifically for you.
DISPLAY: Are you doing too much? Too little? Have you become distracted and can’t define your purpose? The Lord knows, and He wants to relieve you of the pressure you’ve placed on yourself. Ask Him to reveal the ways you’ve walked away from your purpose, and ask Him for the ability to come back to His original purpose for you.