Read John 4:1-54
I have grown up loving sports. I’ve played football, basketball, baseball, soccer and other sports throughout my life but, by far, my favorite is baseball.
Not even close.
Call it a family thing because Dad was drafted, but our whole family just has a thing for baseball. While it would seem logical to be a Guardians (Indians) fan, for 20 years now I have been a fan of the St. Louis Cardinals. Mom and Dad were raised in a suburb of St. Louis so, when Jim Thome (my favorite player growing up) left for Philadelphia in 2002, my grandparents talked me into rooting for the Cardinals and their promising first baseman at the time, Albert Pujols.
Now, as is common in sports, because you root for a team, there naturally are teams that you aren’t supposed to like. For over 100 years, the Cardinals and Chicago Cubs have had a bitter rivalry.
A few years ago, I went to Chicago on an anniversary trip with Kelly and dear friends of ours and, as a baseball fan, I absolutely needed to see Wrigley Field, where the Cubs call home and one of the oldest, most legendary stadiums today.
Naturally, you would want to sport your Cardinals gear while visiting their stadium, right? Actually, I was warned by a friend, who is a Cubs fan, not to do so. “All jokes aside, I wouldn’t do that. In St. Louis, they’ll poke fun and joke but in Chicago…it’s another story.”
Safe to say, I stuck with a neutral MLB hat for our visit.
In the time of Jesus, the Jews and Samaritans had a bitter rivalry. Now, it’s not on the same level as sports teams but, according to John 4:9, Jews did not associate with Samaritans. At this point in your gospel readthrough, you should know that Jesus wasn’t one for cultural stereotypes or “rivalries”.
John 4 describes Jesus’ interaction with a Samaritan lady and, as she is bringing the town out to meet Jesus, He tells His disciples about fields being ready for harvest.
A pastor once questioned if Jesus was talking about a literal harvest or a figurative one as all the people of the town were coming out to meet Jesus.
Imagine the scene.
Hundreds of people are all walking towards where you are and Jesus says,
“Don’t you have a saying, ‘It’s still four months until harvest’? I tell you, open your eyes and look at the fields! They are ripe for harvest.”
When you see people who are lost and without Jesus, do you have the same thought? Do you see them as people who are desperately in need of hope? Do you see people who are on the fast track to hell and need to repent of their sins and change their eternal destination?
I’ll be honest, I need to change my perspective on the lost. We mustn’t look at people as sinners and avoid them. I need to insert myself in their world and share the hope that I have in Jesus.
Get next to them. Be deliberate. Share Jesus.
I need to get better.
How about you?