Back in the late 1800’s a man by the name of Charles Sheldon wrote an interesting book entitled ‘In His Steps.’ It has sold more than 30 million copies and ranks as the 9th bestselling book of all time. A few years ago it had a great influence upon much of the Christian world through the initials – WWJD (What would Jesus do?) That phrase comes from Sheldon’s book.
The book begins with a homeless man approaching a church for help. Though the church is large and very wealthy, no one offers him any assistance. The homeless man then rebukes the pastor and his congregation for their lack of care and concern. The pastor takes the man’s words to heart and the next Sunday he gives a strong challenge to his church – “For the following year, before we make any decision or undertake any task, let’s first stop and ask ourselves ‘What would Jesus do?’”
Like a lot of things in modern Christianity, WWJD was over commercialized; yet I believe that it carries a powerful message. This morning I am going to look at this same principle, but from a different angle. What would this week be like if Jesus walked in your shoes? Some of you are thinking – “Jesus wouldn’t walk in my shoes. He wouldn’t be a stay at home mom.” Moms, we must not forget that on more than one occasion, Jesus stepped aside from His busy schedule in order to spend some special time with children. Others might say, “Jesus wouldn’t hang around the foul-mouthed crowd I have to deal with.” Yet, we must not forget that scripture says that Jesus was a friend of publicans and sinners. Jesus didn’t get involved in their lifestyles, but He did get involved in their lives. As a matter of fact, if Jesus hung out with your rough crowd this week, you can bet that He would strike up some interesting conversations and no doubt have some of them with Him in church next week. Whatever Jesus would do this week, it would be purposeful and productive. Jesus would seek to accomplish something eternal.
This morning I want to share with you three principles for having a Christ like week. Look with me once again at John 4-
John 4:31 In the mean while his disciples prayed him, saying, Master, eat. 32 But he said unto them, I have meat to eat that ye know not of. 33 Therefore said the disciples one to another, Hath any man brought him ought to eat? 34 Jesus saith unto them, My meat is to do the will of him that sent me, and to finish his work. 35 Say not ye, There are yet four months, and then cometh harvest? behold, I say unto you, Lift up your eyes, and look on the fields; for they are white already to harvest.
I. Principles # 1 – Our Perspective
What is perspective? Perspective refers to how we view things. Our perspective is the way that we look at life. Someone has said ‘Attitude determines altitude.’ Our attitude about life has a whole lot of influence upon the type of life we life and whether or not we enjoy it.
A. The Disciples’ Perspective
Consider first the disciples’ perspective. “Samaria! What in the world are we doing here?” “What a waste of time. I hate this place!”
The Bible also says –
John 4:27 And upon this came his disciples, and marvelled that he talked with the woman…
I don’t want to sell them short or pick on them unnecessarily, but marveling probably doesn’t mean that they thought, “Wow! What a nice thing to do”. Instead it probably means that they thought, “Why in the world are you talking to her?”Again, I don’t want to be too hard on them but I wonder if there was not a whole lot of the rolling of the eyes during much of the excursion into Samaria. I think that it would be safe to say that the disciples saw the Samaritans as an intrusion in their lives.
B. The Lord’s Perspective
What was the Lord’s perspective of Samaria? It was 180 degrees from that of the disciples. Jesus didn’t look at the Samaritans as an intrusion or inconvenience. Instead , Jesus viewed the Samaritans as an opportunity to accomplish the will of God. Why was Jesus able to have a better perspective on the situation? Let me suggest a couple of reasons:
1. Jesus had a perspective that focused on the INTERNAL
John 4:35 Say not ye, There are yet four months, and then cometh harvest? behold, I say unto you, Lift up your eyes, and look on the fields; for they are white already to harvest.
The Bible says that while man looks on the outward appearance, God looks on the heart. When the disciples looked at the Pharisees they saw great religious men. When Jesus looked upon them He saw whitewashed tombs full of dead men’s bones. When the disciples looked upon the Samaritans they saw enemies and intrusions. When Jesus looked upon the Samaritans He saw thirsty souls ready for living water. How would Jesus view the people you spend time with each week?
2. Jesus had a perspective that focused on the ETERNAL
Jesus viewed life, not only by what was happening at the moment, but what would happen in eternity. Jesus viewed life from an eternal perspective. What could Jesus see as He looked into the future? We read from the book of Acts –
Acts 9:31 Then had the churches rest throughout all Judaea and Galilee and Samaria, and were edified; and walking in the fear of the Lord, and in the comfort of the Holy Ghost, were multiplied.
Note – ‘the churches in Samaria.’ As Jesus looked upon the multitudes He could see a congregation of followers. He could see sinners that could become saints.
II. Principle #2 – Our Perseverance
The second principle for a Christ like week is perseverance. Consider why I say this.
John 4:35 Say not ye, There are yet four months, and then cometh harvest? behold, I say unto you, Lift up your eyes, and look on the fields; for they are white already to harvest. 36 And he that reapeth receiveth wages, and gathereth fruit unto life eternal: that both he that soweth and he that reapeth may rejoice together. 37 And herein is that saying true, One soweth , and another reapeth. 38 I sent you to reap that whereon ye bestowed no labour: other men laboured, and ye are entered into their labours.
A. The Power of Perseverance
What is perseverance? To persevere means to remain faithful, regardless of the circumstances or situation. The Bible is full of encouragements for us to persevere. We can’t live a victorious Christian life without the determination to persevere. The road is not always smooth or easy. There are many obstacles in the way. Nor can we always see the effect of our efforts. In some ways, life was a whole lot easier when I was a draftsman. As a draftsman all I had to do was look at my drawings and estimate my progress. However, I can’t always see the progress of ministry; at least not at the moment. I have to determine to remain faithful and trust God with the outcome. The Bible promises me –
Galatians 6:9 And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap , if we faint not.
B. The People of Perseverance
John 4:38 I sent you to reap that whereon ye bestowed no labour: other men laboured, and ye are entered into their labours.
I find it interesting that Jesus used the word ‘labor’ to describe ministry. ‘Other men have labored and you are now reaping the rewards of their work.’ The word labor means – (to grow weary, tired, exhausted with toil or burdens or grief.) Others had worked hard to pave the road the disciples were now traveling.
Who were the ones who had labored before the disciples? Some say that it was the woman when she ran back into the city. Others say that it was John the Baptist whom it appears baptized at one point not too far from here. Some say that it was the Old Testament Prophets who preached, yet had no converts. Maybe it was someone else we’re not aware of. Regardless of who it was, we can know at least three things about their ministry:
1. It wasn’t always easy
2. They saw no apparent results at the time
3. Yet they remained faithful and persevered
Many years ago there was a great Christian named George Muller. The Lord put a burden on Muller’s heart for the salvation of five of his friends. In response to this burden, Muller began to pray each day for them. After many months, the first one came to know the Lord. Ten years later, two others were converted. It took another 25 years before the fourth man was saved. Four had come to Christ but the fifth man still hadn’t. Mueller continue to persevere in his prayers for his lost friend. For 52 years he never gave up hoping that his friend would accept Christ! His faith was rewarded, for soon after Mueller’s funeral the last one was saved.
III. Principle # 3 – Our Purpose
Our last principle for a Christ like week involves how we view our purpose in life.
John 4:31 In the mean while his disciples prayed him, saying, Master, eat. 32 But he said unto them, I have meat to eat that ye know not of. 33 Therefore said the disciples one to another, Hath any man brought him ought to eat? 34 Jesus saith unto them, My meat is to do the will of him that sent me, and to finish his work.
First of all let me say that Christ is not saying that we shouldn’t take time to eat or take care of our daily needs. Jesus is not condemning stopping long enough to eat lunch. As a matter of fact, I don’t think that His words have anything to do with condemning the disciples, but instead are a reflection of His own heart. Jesus was so caught up in the moment that He had forgotten about eating.
A. My Meat = My Purpose
Jesus ate meals just like the rest of us, however, His purpose in life was not see how much He could pamper Himself. His purpose in life was to do His Father’s will. In other words – “This is why I came into the world. I am here not to be served, but to serve and to give My life as a ransom for many.”
B. My Meat = My Passion
John 4:32 But he said unto them, I have meat to eat that ye know not of.
When the disciples looked up and saw the crowds coming, they probably thought – “Oh great! another missed meal!” But when Jesus saw the crowds it thrilled Him. Earthly food was the last thing on His mind. He saw before Him a feast of souls.
C. My Meat = My Provision
Jesus was saying to them, “This is not a burden for Me. This is what fuels Me.” “This is My meat. This is My keeps Me going. This is what it is all about.”
If Christ could be in your shoes for one week, what kind of week would He have? What would He accomplish? How might it change someone else’s life? Let me encouraged each of us that before we take on any task or make any decision, let us pause and ask ourselves – ‘What would Jesus do? How would Jesus walk this road if He was in my shoes?’