The following is a guest post written by David Loop. Bro. Loop is a veteran missionary in Portugal and a dear friend of mine. He currently serves in Northern Portugal with his wife Julie and daughter Jocelyn.
One day Jesus stood with His disciples outside the city of Samaria. He just had a conversation with a Samaritan woman who went to Jacob’s well around mid-day to draw water. The fact that Jesus even spoke to her was a lesson to be learned by the disciples since the Samaritans were a people despised by the Jews of that day. Jesus saw in her not only who she was but also what she could be through His saving grace. The passage implies that the Samaritan woman returned to her city as a new person after drinking of the living water that Jesus offered her that day. She was not only a new creature in Christ, but now a person with a message. John 4:28 tells us that she returned to her city with the specific message – “Come…” As a result of her personal testimony, many Samaritans were saved. It was also proof that the Lord saw the spiritual harvest as being everywhere and plentiful. Standing with His disciples outside the city of Samaria, Jesus taught them not only the importance of the harvest but also the need of laborers. He said to them, “…Lift up your eyes, and look on the fields; for they are white already to harvest” (John 4:35). Jesus declared these same words to His disciples in Matthew 9:37-38 where He said, “…The harvest truly is plenteous, but the labourers are few; Pray he therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he will send forth labourers into his harvest.”
The emphasis in these passages is the need of laborers. There is so much to be done when it comes to evangelization, reaching the many people around us who have not yet heard the blessed gospel of Jesus Christ. The problem is the lack of laborers among believers. As Jesus mentioned, the harvest truly is plenteous, but believers need to see it and respond with urgency. As farmers used to say, “The best place to pray for corn is at the end of the hoe handle.” In other words, much prayer and labor is needed to see a great harvest of souls.
The elaboration of mission work is mentioned in detail when Jesus said to the disciples, “And he that reapeth receiveth wages, and gathereth fruit unto life eternal: that both he that soweth and he that reapeath may rejoice together. And herein is the saying true, One soweth, and another reapeth” (John 4:36-37). It is apparent that the Lord expressed here the importance of working together as believers to see a great harvest of souls. Though one sows and another reaps both are important in the work. Together we rejoice along with the angels in heaven over one sinner that repenteth (Luke 15:10). It matters little whether we sow the seed or whether we reap the harvest. It is part of the same work, and whatever part we may have in it, we labor together to see the work done. A Sunday-school teacher may have the privilege of sowing the seed in the heart of a young child, and yet another may reap the blessing of leading this young person to Christ later in life. Though each servant had a different part in the work, both ought to join together in giving praise to God over the salvation of this young person. Dear believer, whether you have the privilege of sowing the seed of the gospel, or watering the seed that was sown by someone else, or you have the blessing of reaping the harvest, every part of the work is important. It is a united work for the cause of Christ.
The efficiency of the work is seen in the One who gives the increase. The Bible teaches that it is God who gives the increase in any ministry. It is our responsibility to plant and water the Word in the hearts of those without Christ. The results lie in the hands of the Lord of the harvest. He provides the results that lead to great rejoicing. What a privilege to be called co-laborers with God (I Cor. 3:9)! Although we labor together with God, we need to remember that He is the one who produces the change in the sinner’s life. We are just the instruments that He uses to see a great harvest of souls by presenting the gospel to the lost.
There is no greater honor than to labor together with God, participating with Him in accomplishing His glorious plans. Our work is important, and will not go unrewarded. I Cor. 3:8 says, “Now he that planteth and he that watereth are one: and every man shall receive his own reward according to his labor.” God will not allow those who work with Him in reaching the lost to go unrewarded.
I want to conclude with a word of encouragement to those involved in mission work. After referring to the saying, “One soweth, and another reapeth” (John 4:37), Jesus says to His disciples, “I sent you to reap whereon ye bestowed no labor: other men labored, and ye are entered into their labours” (John 4:38). The point is that years later the disciples would witness a great harvest of souls come to know Christ as their Savior. The verse is actually an encouragement to continue to sow the seed even though we may never reap. It is said that David Livingstone only had the privilege of directly leading one African to our Savior, Jesus Christ, and yet the seeds he planted continue to grow today. Though one soweth and another reapeth both may rejoice together (John 4:38), seeing that God gives the increase (I Cor. 3:7). Every part of the work is important. Let´s do our part today by planting or watering the seed of the gospel.