A short little phrase was running through my mind this morning just before I fully woke up. Sometimes God touches my heart while I am sleeping and when I awake, I forget it … but this one stuck. There is a simple phrase in John 4 that was running through my mind this morning. “I sent you to reap …” (John 4:38a). Pretty clear statement … but do we fully understand it? Notice that Jesus did not tell His disciples that He sent them to sing … or to be on Face Book … or to text … or to study … or to play … or to shop … or to enjoy yourself. Very simply Jesus said that He sent His disciples to REAP. I wonder how much actual effort is placed on “reaping” in our local churches today? I wonder how much time we spend in our personal lives on “reaping?”
I am afraid that we spend far too much time and energy on things that will bring absolutely NO harvest. We are all guilty of this, but we can change. I began to think about what it takes to reap, and my list got very long. Here goes (from a non-farmer) my list. First, you must prepare the soil. This is not fun. It involves plowing the ground over from what it has been to expose the good soil underneath it. It might involve removal of rocks, weeds and other things that would prevent our seed from growing. After you have completed this, you need to plow and disc a second time to further disrupt the dormant soil and get it ready for the seed. This work can be boring and time-consuming, but without it, the seed doesn’t stand a chance of growing. Second, you must plant the seed in the exposed soil. Third, the seed must receive the right amount of sun and rain to help that seed to germinate and grow (you have nothing to do with this part, except to pray that the God of the harvest will do His work). The last thing you must do is to actually go out (usually in the heat of day), and cut the harvest off, bind it up, and take it to the market to sell the fruit of your labor. That’s a great deal of hard work … maybe the reason we don’t do more “harvesting” in our own lives.
The process for “reaping” spiritual fruit in our lives is not much different. We must go to places the Gospel has not been and create a disturbance of sorts (telling people they are sinners) (we must do this repeatedly sometimes). We then must place the precious seed of the Gospel in the way of sinners. Then we must pray that God will bring life from the seed we have planted. Get out in the field today and work for God’s harvest!
“Invest in areas that generate and reproduce the ministry.” – Ted Camp