Missionaries: Giving the Father what Jesus said He seeks
John 4:23 But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth: for the Father is seeking such to worship Him.
Jesus was having a conversation with a woman that culturally, He had no business talking to.
But talking to a woman from another culture was only one of the reasons why what Jesus was doing was so radical and counter-cultural.
For sure, she was from a cultural group that the people of His own culture despised.
But she also had baggage–lots and lots of baggage, like:
–5 mental suitcases of emotional baggage that probably contained the relics of the 5 broken marriages that she had already been a participant in.
–And the mental suitcase she was filling at the time she spoke with Jesus–a suitcase that had not yet been closed and sealed with the binding of a marriage commitment, even though she was living as if had been.
And yet Jesus sought her out specifically, (see John 4:4) and took the initiative to begin a conversation with her.
In that conversation He reveals the clearest, most concise teaching He ever gave on the subject of worship.
Isn’t that amazing?
He gave this incredible truth to a woman from a different culture, a different religion, and who had so much opposite-sex relational baggage that women of her own culture had basically throw her off the life-train that they all traveled on.
In a nutshell, He tells her that worship of the true God, who is spirit, must be done in spirit and truth.
And that from His active ministry forward–from that time right up till today and on into the future, “true” worship will no longer be essentially connected to any geographic location or constructed building.
But He also gives this woman, (and everyone else), an awe-inspiring window into the heart of the true God.
It’s a window that unveils another reason why I believe “missions” matters and why missionaries still leave everything familiar behind and depart for the ends of the earth.
He says that God–the Father, IS SEEKING “true” worshipers!
(The very conversation He was having with this woman was proof)!
–He personally had stepped into her world–right into the environment where she lived and labored to continue living.
–He sought her out and initiated the contact and conversation with her.
–And He told her the truth about herself, about God, about worship, and about what God seeks.
And why did He do this?
He did it because He knew that the Father is seeking “true” worshipers.
In a sense, He is all about giving the Father what He knows the Father seeks.
His love for the Father moved Him to choose to be a real-life vehicle that His Father could send to make it possible to gather “true” worshipers for Himself.
And in a sense, so is every missionary.
Because they are sensitive to what God seeks and desire to give Him what they know He seeks, they too have obeyed.
They too have left all that is familiar and comfortable in order to give our heavenly Father the gift that they know that He seeks–“true” worshipers from every people, tribe, nation, and tongue! (See Rev. 5:8,9 and Rev. 7:9,10)
So, believe it or not, missionaries and those that send and support them are “SEEKER SENSITIVE”!
What a joy to observe followers of Jesus that take seriously what Jesus told the woman at the well about what the Father seeks.
And who have been obedient to the Psalmist’s exhortation to “declare His glory among the nations” (Psalm 96:3)