Text: John 4:35-38
Theme: Harvesters reap the benefits of the planters who’ve gone before them.
Key verses: “The harvesters are paid good wages, and the fruit they harvest is people brought to eternal life. What joy awaits both the planter and the harvester alike! You know the saying, ‘One plants and another harvests.’ And it’s true. I sent you to harvest where you didn’t plant; others had already done the work, and now you will get to gather the harvest” (v. 36-38).
What God said to me: Look closely at this passage, Dwayne. There is something you’re not seeing here. Look beyond what Jesus obviously said to what he was also implying. His disciples were the “harvesters” of the fields of people who needed hope. However, they weren’t the only group that needed acknowledgment for their work. The harvesters would have had nothing to harvest had it not been for the planters. The harvesters needed the planters. What’s interesting here is that Jesus didn’t challenge them to be planters. He didn’t say, “Plant some while you’re also harvesting.” Apparently the planting was for a different group altogether–a group that you are never introduced to or told about. You just know they were vitally important to the reaping of the harvest. It wouldn’t have happened without them. You also are told their joy will be as great as that of the harvesters. So, what is implied here; what might you need to see by closer inspection? Jesus wasn’t communicating that harvesters can’t be planters and vice versa. Of course they can be. However, these are two very different roles and responsibilities. The immediate rewards are quite different as well. The one who plants the seeds doesn’t see a harvest unless he stays around for several days or months. He must be content knowing he faithfully started the process that can eventually lead to new life. The harvester, on the other hand, reaps immediate blessing and results when what was planted yields fruit. And yet, the planter and the harvester will both experience great joy–joy that “awaits” them. So now do you see the bigger picture here? Planters may not experience the same excitement level and immediate payoff as the harvesters. The planters’ job may not be nearly as thrilling or applauded. However, the same joy awaits both the planter and the harvester. I see the labor of both and will reward them both accordingly.
What I said to God: Father, precious Lord, I adore You today. I need You and thank You for saving me. Thank You that my mom planted big seeds of righteousness in my heart as a small child. Thank You for Rev. Piltair who harvested those seeds when he preached his message that Sunday morning in October 1970–the day I walked forward and trusted You as my Savior. Lord, please help me not be impatient and complain when I’m the planter. Planters matter too. I’ve had the privilege to be on the harvesting end many times. In those times, may I not forget to thank You for the planters who made that moment of harvesting possible. Planters in the form of moms and dads, grandparents, pastors, social workers, teachers and others who went before me to share the Good News and plant seeds of hope inside the person who now has eternal life. What joy for all involved! What a privilege to serve You in both planting for and reaping a harvest!
Text: John 4:35-38