For here the saying holds true, ‘One sows and another reaps.’ I sent you to reap that for which you did not labor. Others have labored, and you have entered into their labor.”…..(John 4:37-38)
It’s very easy to get caught up in the “go big, go fast, or go home” mentality. This can also creep into the church and our Christian walk. Almost every story you hear of church planting success is of how a gifted leader started with almost nothing and then the congregation just blew up overnight. Seldom do we hear a leader share about long years of faithful labor with little initial fruit, but how God was still at work; regardless of the numbers.
In John 4, Jesus wants the disciples to know that the spiritual harvest they were experiencing was the result of a long-term process and the labor of others. Others had gone before them, tilling the ground, planting the seed and watering the soil; and now they were witnessing the harvest. We can get as caught up in the “reaping” as the disciples probably were. This can happen in our ministry circles, or even with friends that we hope will come to see the saving grace of Jesus. We often focus on the harvest as opposed to the tilling, sowing, watering, and cultivating that must occur before we reap. In other words, we want to see the end result and not just experience the work that comes before. This can also cause us to be discouraged when we don’t see quick results in our ministry. However, we can be encouraged by Jesus’ words and realize that the work we are doing now will bring a harvest even; if we aren’t there to be a part of it.
Be faithful with the small but significant doors God has opened in people’s lives around you, and have a long-haul view when investing in those lives. Recognize and celebrate God’s work in the lives of others, even when it isn’t harvest time.