March 2023 Column
“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.’” – John 4:36-37
Imagine having to manage a produce farm all by yourself. Tilling the ground all by yourself. Planting the seeds all by yourself. Watering the plants all by yourself. Gathering the strawberries, the apples, the watermelons all by yourself. Would it be impossible? No. Would it be difficult? Yes. Would it be easier to manage if you had others working beside you? Absolutely. Through the ages, farmers did not raise families just for the sake of doing so. To have a loving family is definitely of great value, but to also have extra hands sharing in the work is definitely of great help. Farmers have known the more hands, the more successful the harvest. And the same could be said for the work of the church.
In John 4:36-37, Jesus Christ shines light on the fact that a successful harvest for the Lord is not the result of a single person. He emphasizes that there is one who sows and another who reaps. There can be no harvest if there is no one to plant the seeds in the first place and still no harvest if there is no one to gather the fruit afterwards. Jesus also reveals in these verses that both sower and reaper can rejoice together at the time of harvest because of their combined efforts towards a fruitful yield. He tells us that everyone has a part to play when it comes to the work of the church and that no single part is more or less important than another. This could be why He sent out the Twelve Disciples two by two (Mark 6:7) as well as the seventy disciples two by two (Luke 10:1). Jesus knew the more hands, the more successful the harvest.
Questions for Discussion
Jesus said in Matthew 9:37, “The harvest truly is plentiful, but the laborers are few.” Working towards a successful harvest for the Lord is not just the work of a pastor. It’s not just the work of a missionary. It’s not just the work of a charitable organization. It’s the work of hands and feet and hearts and minds all united as one body of Christ. Working towards a successful harvest for the Lord is the work of the church. So let’s go – we’ve got work to do.