We live in a world which is wholly bent on self. Whether it's in the boardroom or the bathroom mirror, everyone seems to want to be better than the next. Millions of dollars are spend on "self-help" seminars and books and, while those things aren't necessarily harmful, we often fail to realize that a good life doesn't depend on our own financial or social gain but rather on whether or not we gain the inheritance of the saints (Ephesians 1:18) and, what is arguably superior in importance to our own salvation, the gaining of others to the Kingdom of Christ (Romans 9:3). I believe that we have ceased to be a society which works together for each other and have become a society which worships the god of ME. But, that's not what Jesus taught His children in John 4. He taught us to look beyond ourselves and look to...
The Outcast - John 4:1-30
That's right, those people who just "don't fit in" and seem to be a little strange, Jesus taught us to go to them with the Gospel regardless of their stance in the community. He not only went against the norm in speaking to a woman (John 4:7) but went as far as to as a dirty, flea bitten, Samaritan for a glass of water!
Can you imagine the uproar if the Jews had seen Him doing that (cf. Matthew 9:11)? And yet, He didn't care because that woman was lost in her sins and in need of the Gospel. Let me ask all of us this question, can we honestly say that we have that same mindset?
"I believe that we have ceased to be a society which works together for each other and have become a society which worships the god of ME."
More importantly, Jesus taught all of us whether outcast or socialite to seek the Father in all we do (cf. Matthew 6:33), especially with regard to worship. It doesn't matter if we go to every outcast member of our community, if we fail to show them who the Father is and we ourselves fail to worship Him, we're lost.
Let's make this point very clear, God doesn't care what you or I think. He doesn't care what we want or how we think things should be, and that's perfectly fine! We raise our children to do things, "because I said so" and that's who it should be done, in my opinion. But, while the Lord of our lives is loving and compassionate, He expects things to be done in His way. Always remember, worship isn't about me, it's about doing what He said for the reasons He said to do it (John 4:24). Then and only then will we honestly be able to say that we have looked beyond ourselves and looked to the Father for our guidance.
The Lost - John 4:34-42
While we touched on this a moment ago under looking to the outcast it becomes even more clear when looking at the account of Jesus and His speaking about the fields. It's not just the outcast and downtrodden that need the Gospel, it is everyone. I think I've been guilty of this sometimes. You see, I'm a result driven person. My favorite quote is, "Work smarter not harder" and I try to keep that in mind with everything I do, even evangelism. When I'm about to set out on foot to knock doors, I normally go to the poorer neighborhoods. Why? Because they are the most receptive. But, when I or we have this mindset of only going to the poorer people, aren't we just doing in reverse exactly what James condemned (James 2:1-13)?
No, we have to look at people as souls, regardless of who they are or what they have. Jesus said the field is white for harvest, not the back corner that doesn't get a lot of attention, but the whole field.
The Hurting - John 4:46-54
Here's where the rubber meets the road. They might not realize it, and we probably don't if we don't have the mind of Christ, but those people that are in the world, are hurting. Sure, they may not be hurting like the nobleman in John 4, although there is undeniably many who are facing physical death or have recently experienced it in their families that might be likened to him, but everyone has baggage they are trying to overcome.
The church's job is evangelism, plain and simple. But, that evangelism can come by way of helping the needy and hurting! When people see the love and compassion of Christ in our lives extended to them, they are able to see that Christianity not only has something wonderful to offer them (salvation and fellowship) but that the Christians who make up Christianity are actual Christians. How many people have been turned away from Christianity because they look at the false brethren and see no love?
Jesus came for the hurting (Mark 2:17), and so should we!