As laborers for Jesus, we are all working to reap a harvest through the gospel. We plant, we water, and we harvest. However, we don’t always get to do all three things with the same person. Sometimes we’re the one who plants the gospel in a person’s life. At other times we’re the one who waters that gospel so that it might take root, grow, bloom, and bear fruit. Still other times we are the one who gets to harvest that soul by leading them to faith in Jesus Christ. Of course, it’s God who brings the growth and the harvest, but He uses human agents to bring it about (Matthew 9:37-38). It’s a blessing to be part of all three phases with the same person, but I would guess that that’s actually fairly rare.
If we were to poll the people in church pews about which phase of gospel ministry they would most like to be a part of (planting, watering, or harvesting), I believe the overwhelming majority would choose harvesting. However, we must never forget that although those who plant, water, and harvest may be different people, they are nevertheless one team. As God through Paul tells us in 1 Corinthians 3:5-9, “5 What then is Apollos? What is Paul? Servants through whom you believed, as the Lord assigned to each. 6 I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the growth. 7 So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God who gives the growth. 8 He who plants and he who waters are one, and each will receive his wages according to his labor. 9 For we are God’s fellow workers. You are God’s field, God’s building.“
The church universal is on the same team. When one harvests, all those who planted and watered get the harvest as well. It’s a team harvest with all glory going to God!
This glorious truth hit me Sunday morning, June 22 as I was preparing to baptize my oldest son Zachariah. Sitting out there in the pews of Eastwood Baptist Church were representatives of two congregations. Of course, Eastwood was there, but so was about twenty or so folks from my former church, West Main Baptist, who had come to see my son baptized. As I sat there, the Lord reminded me, “One plants, one waters, one harvests.” For six years, West Main planted and watered the gospel in my son, and just two weeks after moving to Eastwood in early May, my son came to Christ. Yes, Eastwood harvested, but what about West Main? It absolutely did as well! We must never forget that everybody who had worked to see my son saved harvested along with Eastwood.
I pray that this truth would be a great encouragement to you as you work in the gospel ministry this summer. You may simply plant the gospel in the hearts of those to whom you minister, some of which you may never see again on the earth. On the other hand, you might serve in the watering phase of gospel ministry, helping to grow what somebody else has already planted. Still yet, you might get to serve in that exciting ministry of harvesting, leading that person to Jesus. Most of us would choose to serve in the harvest phase, but even if we simply plant and water, when the harvest comes, it’s our harvest too! I’m so glad to be a part of the team! Glory to God!