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The Task: To Seek & To Save

Jesus had just had the encounter with the Samaritan woman at the well. If we back up to the beginning of chapter 4 in John’s gospel, we find the Pharisees had heard that Jesus and his disciples were making and baptizing more disciples than John so Jesus left Judea to go to Galilee, but he had to go through Samaria on His way for His destined meeting with the woman at the well because Jesus’ task was to seek and to save the lost.

Positioned for destiny

In verse five we find that Jesus was weary from His journey, so He sat by the well, positioning Himself in the exact location for His destined meeting. How often do we feel God leading us to a task and then just wait for God to bring the task to us rather than getting up and going to where the task is waiting for us? If we want to fulfill what God is calling us to do, we, like Jesus, have to position ourselves for the destiny and calling that God is pointing us to.

If Jesus had waited for the Samaritan woman to come to Galilee, the encounter between Jesus and the Woman at the Well would not have happened and she would not have brought her entire village to the Messiah. We must be positioned in the place where the task is if we are to accomplish the task God has for us,

Doing the Will of the Father: Seek and Save the lost

The disciples don’t arrive on the scene until verse 27, marveling that He is talking with a Samaritan woman. In verse 31, they demonstrate their concern for Jesus and encourage Him to eat something. His response was, “I have food to eat of which you do not know.” The disciples totally miss what Jesus is talking about and wonder among themselves who could have brought Him something to eat. So Jesus explains – “My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me, and to finish His work.” What was the work that Jesus was sent to do? Luke 19:10 tells us, “For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save the lost.” Ultimately, for Jesus, that meant dying on a cross and rising again, but for this day, it meant talking to an outcast Samaritan woman who would bring her entire village to Jesus.

Your task: Seek the lost and bring them to Jesus

As Christians, each one of us has been given the same task: to seek the lost and bring them to Jesus, then make disciples. Jesus’ last words to the church before He ascended into heaven were, “Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe everything I have commanded you.” (Matthew 28:19-20, HCSB).

We all might do that in a different way. Some preach, some write books, some teach a small group, some tell coworkers, friends, and family about Jesus, some leave a gospel tract along with a tip at a restaurant, and some sing praise and worship songs. None of us are saved to just sit in a pew. As long as we are still on earth, we have a task, an assignment to do. What assignment have you been given?

Committed to the task

Jesus was committed to His task all the way to the cross. How committed are you? Jesus set His priorities by what His Father wanted Him to do. What do your priorities look like? Jesus was willing to go to Samaria, even though the devout, strict Jews avoided it due to fear of being defiled if they went through it. Instead, they would bypass Samaria and take much longer route around it just to avoid it. But God gave Jesus an assignment in Samaria – and He obediently went and won an entire village to belief in Him. Are you willing to go the places no one else will go?

The Task is hard

For some who work in ministry, the question of commitment has not been about priorities or willingness – it is more about how much ministry takes out of person. Ministry is hard work. Not just because the task is hard, but also because people in ministry often invest themselves emotionally into the lives the people to whom they minister. If people in ministry do not practice self-care, they risk burnout and/or compassion fatigue. If this is you, then God is asking you, “Will you finish the work to which you have been called?”

Jesus Finished His Task

For Jesus it wasn’t enough just to do the work His Father sent Him to do – He also had to finish it. Imagine for a moment if Jesus developed burnout and compassion fatigue. If anyone ever deserved a burnout and compassion fatigue moment, it was Jesus! But if Jesus sat down one day and said, “I’m too tired to go on. I think I’ll quit this business of working out everyone’s salvation.” Where would that leave us today?

Dear person in the ministry – pastor, music minister, small group leader, deacon, conference speaker, children’s worker, nursery worker, youth pastor…whatever your ministry field is – what if you sit down and say, “I’m too tired to go on. I think I’ll quit.” How many people would die without Christ as Savior because you quit? Like Jesus, it isn’t enough that we do the will of God – we must finish the task to which we have been called. Our task is to seek the lost and bring them to Jesus.

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