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Sowers and Reapers

agricultureIn my last post I talked about Jesus’ view His ministry. He told His disciples that He had food that they didn’t know about. He was talking about finishing the Father’s will.

Do you not say, ‘Four months more and then the harvest’? I tell you, open your eyes and look at the fields! They are ripe for harvest. Even now the reaper draws his wages, even now he harvests the crop for eternal life, so that the sower and the reaper may be glad together.
John 4:35-36

In the natural, you can tell when the harvest is coming. You can tell how ripe the wheat is just by looking at it.

In the same way, there should be a spiritual sensitivity to when hearts are ready. I should be just as obvious to us that someone is ready to hear and receive the message of Christ.

One question that needs to be asked when we read this verse is; who is the reaper that’s receiving his wages? The answer should be obvious – it’s Christ!

The Apostle Paul talked about some of the same things.

What, after all, is Apollos? And what is Paul? Only servants, through whom you came to believe — as the Lord has assigned to each his task. I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God made it grow. So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow. The man who plants and the man who waters have one purpose, and each will be rewarded according to his own labor.
1 Corinthians 3:5-8

Usually we think of this reward for our labor as future. But we need to remember what Jesus said. The reaper IS RECEIVING His wages. I HAVE food you don’t know about. The sower and the reaper can be happy together.

It sounds to me like there’s a reward in this life for fulfilling the Lord’s will. That’s something we need to think about.

Who was the sower that Jesus referenced? I believe that He was talking about the woman. Listen to what the townspeople said about her.

Many of the Samaritans from that town believed in him because of the woman’s testimony, “He told me everything I ever did.”
John 4:39

They said to the woman, “We no longer believe just because of what you said; now we have heard for ourselves, and we know that this man really is the Savior of the world.”
John 4:42

What was her reward? I don’t really know. It might have been children, or a stable family of her own. We have to wait to find out about her in Heaven.

Thus the saying ‘One sows and another reaps’ is true. I sent you to reap what you have not worked for. Others have done the hard work, and you have reaped the benefits of their labor.”
John 4:37-38

Which is harder – sowing or reaping? I think that it might be the sowing. Especially if we don’t see the fruit of the seed we plant into someone. Sometimes a soul that we spoke the Gospel to, is brought into the Kingdom by someone else.

There’s no need to get jealous about it. It’s the Kingdom of God that’s increasing. Everything in our lives is all directly related to the principle of sowing and reaping.

The bottom line is that the Samaritans ultimately believed because they heard Jesus speak. It’s our job to bring people to a personal encounter with Christ. That’s where we receive great rewards.

Question: What are some Gospel seeds you have planted?

© Nick Zaccardi 2017

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Posted by on January 6, 2017 in Ministry, Spiritual Walk, The Gospel

 

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How Busy is Too Busy?

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThere are so many opportunities in today’s generation. I’m talking about both ministry and recreational activities. How do you know when you’re too busy?

In the book of Revelation, Christ dictated letters to 7 pastors in Asia Minor. The pastor of the church in Ephesus was told the following…

“I know your deeds, your hard work and your perseverance. I know that you cannot tolerate wicked men, that you have tested those who claim to be apostles but are not, and have found them false. You have persevered and have endured hardships for my name, and have not grown weary.”
Revelation 2:2-3

The pastor of Ephesus was doing great things. The church was flourishing. The people were being fed and protected. They were overcoming in spite of many adversities. How could the Lord possibly be displeased with that?

“Yet I hold this against you: You have forsaken your first love. Remember the height from which you have fallen! Repent and do the things you did at first. If you do not repent, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place.”
Revelation 2:4-5

Very simply put, this pastor allowed the work of the ministry to replace his relationship with the Lord. A great truth that I’ve heard again and again is, “Don’t become so involved in the work of the Lord that you forget the Lord of the work.” God was concerned with this pastor’s lack of relationship. He said that this pastor had forsaken his first love.

This is an easy trap to fall into. As the church began to grow and the demands of the ministry started to escalate, time with the Lord became harder to set aside. Before long his relationship time with Christ got pushed into the corner of “when it’s convenient.”

I’d like to say that this problem was only a part of the early church. But some things never change. I believe that there’s a greater pull on us now to overload our schedules. There are so many opportunities to be involved in good things; that we have very little time for our spiritual walk.

Remember that it wasn’t always like this. When you first came to Christ, you were excited about what He was doing in you. Maybe you spent late nights on your knees in prayer. You prayed for souls to be saved. You prayed for wisdom, strength, and boldness. You knew that you didn’t have a chance of fulfilling the Lord’s calling on your life without His working in you.

Things have changed now. You’ve become wiser – more experienced. Now you know what living for Christ is all about. You feel more secure in your calling as a believer.

Please realize that there’s nothing wrong with this. It’s a good thing to become mature in Christ. The problem comes when you no longer feel the need to pray as much. You don’t seem to need God’s help like you used to. You know what living for God is all about now.

The diagnosis is that your relationship with the Lord has grown cold and it grieves the heart of your Lord and King. Have you become so busy with the work of the Lord that you’ve forgotten the Lord of the work? Test yourself. You need to be brutally honest. Has your time with the Lord suffered?

It’s wonderful that you’ve grown in maturity, but that’s not the issue. The question is; are you spending TIME with the Lord as you used to?

Question: How would you rate the quality and quantity of time you spend with the Lord?

© Nick Zaccardi 2015

 
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Posted by on June 15, 2015 in Leadership, Ministry, Prayer

 

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