I have planted, Apollos watered; but God gave the increase. (1Corinthians 3:6)
“PAUL WAS FOND OF AGRICULTURAL images and often used them in his letters. “Ye are God’s husbandry” simply means, “You are God’s cultivated field, God’s garden.”
IN THE PARABLE OF THE SOWER, Jesus compared the human heart to soil and the Word of God to seed (Matthew 13:1-9, Matthew 13:18-23). Paul took this individual image and made it collective: the local church is a field that ought to bear fruit. The task of the ministry is the sowing of the seed, the cultivating of the soil, the watering of the plants, and the harvesting of the fruit.”(Wiersbe)
ONE OF THE HARDEST THINGS I HAD TO LEARN as I began making efforts to win people to the Lord, was that everyone I met was not ready to harvest. I had spent time in door-to-door selling back when there were still some people at home to sell to. I sold Bibles, little fire alarms, rugs, encyclopedias, etc. It was easy for me to think of lost people as being customers for the Gospel. I had not studied what the Bible says about sowing, watering, and harvesting. Everybody is not ready to be saved. It’s was like trying to harvest a bucket of ripe red tomatoes when most of them are still green. This means there’s a lot of farming to be done before we get a harvest.
BUT, WHEN JESUS BEGAN HIS SHORT MINISTRY OF THREE YEARS, He told His disciples that the harvest of their day was ready. Say not ye, There are yet four months, and then cometh harvest? behold, I say unto you, Lift up your eyes, and look on the fields; for they are white already to harvest. (John 4:35)
IT WAS NOT THEIR HARVEST BUT, THE LORD'S HARVEST. Therefore said he unto them, The harvest truly is great, but the labourers are few: pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he would send forth labourers into his harvest. (Luke 10:2)
JESUS REVEALED THE DIVISION OF LABOR involved in growing and reaping a harvest. And he that reapeth receiveth wages, and gathereth fruit unto life eternal: that both he that soweth and he that reapeth may rejoice together. And herein is that saying true, One soweth, and another reapeth. I sent you to reap that whereon ye bestowed no labour: other men laboured, and ye are entered into their labours. (John 4:36-38)
IN OUR TEXT TODAY, PAUL ADDS ANOTHER DIVISION OF LABOR: WATERING. If you have done much gardening, you are well-acquainted with the need for watering. Some watering is needed immediately after the seed is sown, to enable the seed to sprout. And, in a few days the tiny seedlings must have enough water to send out roots and to begin the marvel of producing the seed leaf and then the true leaf and the leaves to follow.
ON OUR WAY TO HARVEST, it will take much watering. Some testify that they have prayed for family and friends for fifty years before they were saved. George Mueller prayed for a friend for many years and died before his friend turned to the Lord. Harvesting souls is definitely not like selling vacuum cleaners and cleaning products at the front door.
THERE ARE ALWAYS PEOPLE WHO ARE READY FOR HARVEST if we look for them, but it takes time and effort to find them and engage them in conversation. After I had prayed with several hundreds of people who indicated they were willing to be saved, I came to realize more and more that I was not selling rugs and Bibles. I was looking for people to be birthed into the Kingdom of God. Some of the people we talk to are ready to be saved. Others have sown the seed, maybe their mother or father and I am privileged to enter in upon their labor.
I KNOW OF NOTHING THAT IS AS IMPORTANT OR AS SATISFYING as sowing the seed of the Word of God, of watering the seed, and being able to see some of the harvest. There are many who sow the seed or water the seed who may never have the privilege of gathering the harvest of the seed. Sow on and water on, dear brother, dear sister.
We often use the term: winning a soul to Christ. The Bible makes one reference to that: The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life; and he that winneth souls is wise. (Proverbs 11:30) I am more comfortable with using the terms: sowing, watering, and entering into the harvest. I am under no pressure to report numbers to anyone because I am not capable of measuring if a profession of faith is genuine.
THE BIBLE IDENTIFIES SOME WHO HAVE SOWN THE WORD and have watered the Word, and of some who labored in the harvest. Paul and Silas sang and told the jailer how to be saved and then baptized him. They aided in the harvest but were not given credit for the harvest. The Bible doesn’t say that Paul and Silas “got him saved.” As laborers in the harvest, we may gather people who make a genuine profession of faith. We also may gather in people who DO NOT make a genuine profession of faith.
THERE'S A LIMIT AS TO HOW MUCH WE AS LABORERS IN THE HARVEST can claim that we do in the harvest. We are not the Holy Spirit, who convicts of sin and who draws lost people to Christ. We are ambassadors for Christ. We are laborers for Christ, but we are incapable of converting anyone. We may lead one to Christ as we may lead a horse to water, but I discovered years ago with a bloody mouth that I cannot make a horse drink when he is not thirsty. I may lead a man as far as he wants to go but I can not push him into salvation.
RATHER, THE BIBLE SPEAKS OF THE LORD OF THE HARVEST sending forth laborers into His harvest. The Lord, Himself, is the harvester of souls and we may be privileged to participate in what He is doing. It is the Holy Spirit who baptizes each one into the Body of Christ. For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit. (1Corinthians 12:13)
PAUL TALKS MORE ABOUT HIS LABORS OF SEED SOWING AND WATERING than he talks of his harvesting. Oh yes, and he mentions about his stripes and being stoned and left for dead and about the things he saw while his spirit was perhaps out of his body. And I knew such a man, (whether in the body, or out of the body, I cannot tell: God knoweth;) How that he was caught up into paradise, and heard unspeakable words, which it is not lawful for a man to utter. (2Corinthians 12:3-4)
Jesus said: But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth. (Acts 1:8) Ω
Read Through the Bible in a Year
JULY 9, 2018 – MONDAY
A.M. Job 40-42 P.M. Acts 15:22-41
(Bible Gateway will read this to you if you like. Look for the speaker icon.) If you are behind in reading, read the passage for today and then go back.
●Good Memory Verse:
But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth. (Acts 1:8)
(Write verse on scrap of paper and put in your pocket to memorize.)
●Song for Today:
Pass Me Not O Gentle Savior (5:13) (Gaither Group)