Posted by: missionventureministries | January 23, 2012

ONE SOWS AND ANOTHER REAPS – John 4:35-38

Do you not say, ‘There are still four months and then comes the harvest’? Behold, I say to you, lift up your eyes and look at the fields, for they are already white for harvest! And he who reaps receives wages, and gathers fruit for eternal life, that both he who sows and he who reaps may rejoice together. For in this the saying is true: ‘One sows and another reaps.’ I sent you to reap that for which you have not labored; others have labored, and you have entered into their labors.” – John 4:35-38
 
Jesus teaches us much about winning souls. In this next verse we see that He teaches us the need for compassion by way of example: “Jesus went about all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every sickness and every diseaseamong the people. But when He saw the multitudes, He was moved with compassion for them, because they were weary and scattered, like sheep having no shepherd.”  – Matthew 9:35-36
 
When we read the Scriptures we learn from Jesus that winning souls involves both sowing and reaping just as in agriculture, sowing involves preparing the soil and planting the seed. In winning souls to Christ, it likewise involves preparation and planting. Hearts need to be prepared to receive the gospel. This process involves time, love and patience. Likewise the process of reaping involves soles who have heard the Word and decided to obey it.
 
Both sowing and reaping are necessary to win souls.  Yet the two are not always done by the same person(s). We may reap where other have sown. Just like the case in Samaria where Jesus said: “I sent you to reap that for which you have not labored; others have labored, and you have entered into their labors” – John 4:38.
 
Jesus had spoken to the woman at the well (John 4:4-26) she knew that the Messiah was to come and now she had met Him. She returned to town and told others about Jesus and told them to come and see Him. (John 4:28-30)
 
There are times when we tell people about Jesus and they seem “ripe”, ready to receive the gospel, requiring little effort on our part. This is likely due to the “sowing” that occurred some time earlier when a friend or family member had spoken to them about Jesus and they did not respond then, but are ready now.
 
We should be careful not to boast when we are privileged to reap where others have sown.  Yet we can rejoice, for reaping. It is an exciting time for the laborers!  On the other hand we may sow where others will reap. This was the case in Samaria. Jesus did the sowing, but the disciples would do the reaping. The woman also sowed and Jesus and His disciples did the reaping.
 
There are times when a lot of sowing is being done, lives are influenced by the godly examples of other Christians, souls are taught the Word of God, yet the reaping is not enjoyed by those doing the sowing, because few seem to respond to the efforts being made.
 
The reaping often comes later; it might be years before the Word bears fruit, it might be long after we are gone. When this occurs, we should not become discouraged and should continue reaching the lost. We need to remember Jesus’ words ‘One sows and another reaps.’      
 
He also said: “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature” – Mark 16:15. As a result, we should be influencing souls by example and need to be aware that there may be times when we see little fruit from our efforts. Jeremiah prophesied nearly fifty years with little success. Jesus and His apostles had their periods when few would listen, yet we can take comfort in knowing that God’s Word is never sown in vain. It will accomplish its purpose – “For as the rain comes down, and the snow from heaven, and do not return there, but water the earth, and make it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower and bread to the eater, so shall My word be that goes forth from My mouth; it shall not return to Me void, but it shall accomplish what I please, and it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it” – Isaiah 55:10-11. It has the power to save those who believe it – “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek” – Romans 1:16.
 
God only holds us responsible for sowing the seed – “Son of man, I have made you a watchman for the house of Israel; therefore hear a word from My mouth, and give them warning from Me: When I say to the wicked, ‘You shall surely die,’ and you give him no warning, nor speak to warn the wicked from his wicked way, to save his life, that same wicked man shall die in his iniquity; but his blood I will require at your hand. Yet, if you warn the wicked, and he does not turn from his wickedness, nor from his wicked way, he shall die in his iniquity; but you have delivered your soul” – Ezekiel 3:17-19
 
We need to remember to “be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that our labor is not in vain in the Lord” – 1 Corinthians 15:58. Because, the power is in the seed, not in the one who sowes or the reaper – “For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.” – Hebrews 4:12
 
We need to follow the Master’s instruction as His disciples and need to pray because “the harvest truly is plentiful, but the laborers are few. Therefore pray the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest.” – Matthew 9:37-38

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