ODJ: focus

September 3, 2014 

READ: John 4:13-26 

The time is coming—indeed it’s here now—when true worshippers will worship the Father in spirit and in truth (v.23).

I was enjoying singing with others during the worship service. Then a woman sang a solo. I don’t recall the song. But I do remember thinking: boring lyrics! Predictable religious clichés! Ah, just give me good old, Christian easy-listening music. (I confess my inappropriate sarcasm and snarkiness.)

The woman finished and sat down to appreciative applause. Then the worship leader said with deep emotion, “That song never fails to speak to my heart. Thank you so much!”

Ouch! By making the worship service about me, I had forgotten that I was supposed to be praising God with other believers—a fantastic privilege! By giving my personal preference the place of honour, I had made an idol of it. I had lost my focus—or rather, I had misdirected it onto myself.

At a well in Samaria 2,000 years ago, a woman, no doubt feeling uncomfortable as Jesus put the focus on her (“You have had five husbands . . .” John 4:18), diverted the subject from her lifestyle by asking a divisive religious and political question: “Why is it that you Jews insist that Jerusalem is the only place of worship?” (v.20).

Jesus deftly directed the worship focus to His heavenly Father: “Dear woman, the time is coming when it will no longer matter whether you worship the Father on this mountain or in Jerusalem” (v.21). He continued, “True worshippers will worship the Father in spirit and in truth” (v.23). When the woman said, “I know the Messiah is coming,” Jesus brought the focus full circle: “I AM the Messiah!” (vv.25-26).

My guess is that as the woman ran into town to tell everyone about this Man she had just met, she also had a new reason to worship. And that worship had the right focus.

—Tim Gustafson

365-day plan› Matthew 22:1-14

For other glimpses of people worshipping Jesus, look at Matthew 2:9-11, Mark 14:3-9, Luke 18:35-42, and John 9:35-38. 
How can we worship God throughout the day? How can we be less self-absorbed and more aware of Him and His love for us?