Energized | John 4.31-34
Meanwhile the disciples were urging him, saying, “Rabbi, eat.” But he said to them, “I have food to eat that you do not know about.” So the disciples said to one another, “Has anyone brought him something to eat?” Jesus said to them, “My food is to do the will of him who sent me and to accomplish his work. John 4:31-34 | ESV
The disciples, oblivious to all of this, meanwhile stood around prodding him with food. “Rabbi, eat something.” But Jesus’ exhaustion had lifted, his energy resurgent. “I feast on food you know nothing about, my friends.” They were mystified, his followers murmuring to each other, “Some local didn’t bring him something to eat, did she?” Rolling his eyes a bit, Jesus spelled it out for them: “What feeds me is doing what he’s sent me to do and finishing his work, right here and now.” MAV
If Jesus had promised the Samaritan woman water that would become a living spring within her, it’s clear that Jesus has an internal bakery within himself.
During his forty day fast in the desert and his showdown with Darkness, the first temptation of the Christ was “command these stones to become bread.” How long Jesus had to struggle over whatever appeal such a prospect held for his humanity we can only guess, but his bottom line response was unequivocal and points us to the reality he shares with this disciples here: “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.” And so the disciples return to Jesus with bags of burgers ready for consumption, and, after waiting for this strange woman to make her prompt exit, they offer him the cultural equivalent of a Whopper.
And Jesus waves them off.
No longer wilted and drained, he clearly seems revived, flushed with fresh energy and vigor.
She brought him something to eat.
Someone else brought him something to eat.
“I have food to eat you know nothing about.”
Jesus is merciless. He knows how they’re going to take that – as two dimensionally flat as we take so much of what he says. Then he clarifies. “My food, my feast, my source of sustenance and revitalizing strength is doing what my Father is doing and completing his to do list.”
I see Jacob laboring with proverbial might and main seven years for his beloved Rachel, the time seeming to be “but a few days” because of his love for her. Love energizes, empowers us. We generally don’t complete Paul’s crucial, classic thought: “Work out your salvation with fear and trembling for it is God who is working in you both to will and to work for his good pleasure.” The operative word: energeo literally energizing, infusing with operative strength and power.
Yes, there is still the need for food; yes there is still need for healthy rhythms of labor and rest; but to be engaged in the Father’s business is to tap into an inner source of supply that is, quite simply, boundless. Perhaps the ultimate cause of burnout is not so much failed expectations or badly handled schedules, though these are certainly symptomatic; perhaps the root cause is quite simply confusing our business with his.
How often is burnout a problem you face in life? What do you think are its causes for you? What would you say is the practical way we can tap into this inner “food source” as we do the Father’s will?
Lord, show me the way to your table, the table that will sustain me through all, each trial and challenge, each job and task. Teach me how to feed deeply upon you, upon the Word. Energize me through the tasks I would embark upon that are on your to do list, not mine. Give me the wisdom to know the difference. Through Christ.