Today is April Fools Day. As a kid, I used to enjoy trying to pull off a good April Fools joke. They were never all that good, but I enjoyed the laugh…except when my brother would do it to me. I didn’t like being the “fool.” I don’t intend to attempt any jokes today. Not because I think they are bad, I actually think some are still pretty funny; but I learned what a fool is from Scripture…and it’s not a victim of a prank. Psalm 53:1 says, “The fool says in his heart, ‘There is no God.’”
As a church family, we know in our hearts there is a God. We have seen Him at work in our church body. We have experienced His presence in worship. We have heard the testimonies of men, women, and children who have been changed by Jesus. In addition, we are setting aside food, time, and other things to lean into our Heavenly Father. We are saying in word and deed that we desire Him more. Our hearts want Him more than these other things. Jesus once said, “…where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” [Luke 12:34] How we view, handle, and talk about material things reveals a lot about our heart.
Day 4 [April 1]
In reading Chapter 4, I am reminded of the importance of looking for the everyday moments in life to point people to Jesus and the “living water!” When we live that way, we become part of something much bigger than ourselves, which can have a “ripple effect” on many lives.
In the story of the Samaritan woman, Jesus chooses the will of God over food, and lives are changed. His submission, sacrifice, and commitment impact the woman, who then impacts an entire town. What did the town do after that? We don’t know, but even the disciples had a chance to grow out of this “ripple” experience.
They started out by trying to get Jesus to stop worrying about ministry and to take care of Himself. They urge him to “eat something.” [John 4:31] If you are fasting during Crave, I know many of you…if not all…will encounter friends or family who are uncomfortable or concerned about the idea of fasting. That is natural. They care about you. Every time my Mom learned I was in a time of prayer & fasting, her motherly instincts and years of serving as a registered nurse kick in; and she would always want to make sure I was okay, getting the right nutrition, etc. I loved that about her, and still appreciate it even though she is now with Jesus! She was an awesome woman, and her care and concern for me was truly a blessing in my life.
The disciples showed a similar concern about Jesus’ health and well being as they urged him to eat in verse 31; but Jesus takes this opportunity to talk to them about food they did not understand. He said, “My food is to do the will of Him who sent me and to finish his work. Do you not say, ‘Four months more and then the harvest’? I tell you, open your eyes and look at the fields! They are ripe for harvest.” [John 4:34-35]
There is a harvest to be realized! There are people all over this region who do not know Jesus. They do not know the One who provides the living water. As a church, we have the opportunity to do the will of God and help others connect to Him through Jesus.
As you encounter people with concerns about fasting or questions about God, be honest. Explain that you are abstaining from food [or whatever it is] for a spiritual purpose, but don’t focus on the food or the thing you’ve set aside. Talk to them about the One who gives life.
We have everyday encounters, like the one Jesus had with the Samaritan woman, that God wants us to use to lead others into relationship with Him.
What opportunities are before you now as you fast that may lead to even greater things?
Father – May we be a people who choose You and Your will over everything else. Give us eyes to see the opportunities You are bringing in front of us. May we be a people who reflect You in such a way that all men and women in this region will know that You alone are God. Amen.
April 1, 2014
Right on, Shawn. As our pastor in our church back home so often says, “Life is all about choices.” Thanks for taking us through the book of Joshua first to set us up for understanding this.