2 Kings 22-23 John 4:31-54
“Here the saying is true, ‘One person plants, and another harvests.’ I sent you to harvest a crop that you did not work on. Others did the work, and you get to finish up their work.” (Luke 4:37-38)
The story of Jesus in Samaria is amazing. First, Jesus was in Samaria. That in itself was amazing, given the hatred Jews and Samaritans shared. Second, the Samaritans asked Him to stay. In another instance, the Samaritans let them know they weren’t welcome and James and John wanted to call fire down from Heaven to destroy them. Third, Jesus looked at the Samaritans and noted that the fields were white and ready for harvest. The Samaritans knew that the Messiah would come. The woman at the well had talked about the Messiah before Jesus revealed that He was the Messiah. Then, because of Jesus’s ministry, many Samaritans believed. His teaching about the harvest – that the fields were ready to harvest – happened in Samaria. It was in Samaria that Jesus reminded us that sharing the gospel is a combined effort. Sometimes we’re planting the seeds that will result in people following Christ at a later date; sometimes we’re talking with people who’ve been thinking about Jesus because someone else planted the seed. In the long run, evangelism doesn’t happen because of who we are, but because of who God is.
Evangelism is one of the most exciting works of God. When evangelism happens right, we get to see the miracle of a life being changed. But evangelism is not just about the harvesting. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard vocational evangelists tell airplane stories. You know what I mean: he sits down and talks with the person next to them about Jesus and by the end of the ride, they’ve come to know Jesus. Me, I try to talk with someone on an airplane and get inconsequential grunts or the eye that says, “back off, weirdo.” As we understand evangelism from God’s perspective, though, airplane stories happen because someone’s already planted a seed. That seed may have been planted by someone else sharing the gospel who went home thinking that they’d failed God because the person hadn’t accepted Christ. It may have been planted by someone showing the love of Christ to them in a difficult time. It may have been planted through seeing or experiencing first hand a person helping the homeless, or caring for a widow, or supporting God’s work. I have no doubt that in most instances, the seed was watered and fertilized by the prayers of people who loved that person. Jesus makes it clear that when people come to follow Him, it’s a team effort. Sometimes, we’re planting. Sometimes we’re watering and fertilizing. Other times we’re harvesting. We never fail God when we’re faithful to His call to share His love, mercy, and grace with others. We may not harvest, but we’re making that harvest possible. No matter what your part was in the harvest, you’ll experience great joy when you realize you were faithful to God and the miracle of new life in Christ happened, in part, because of your faithfulness.
Lord, thank You so much for allowing me to be a part of Your team. Remind me that when I’m faithful to Your call on my life, I play a part in people experiencing the same joy I do. Let me plant, water, fertilize, or harvest by sharing Your love with all the people You put in my path.
Scripture taken from the New Century Version®. Copyright © 2005 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.