From my reading in John 4:31-54 in the One Year New Testament.
When I go out to share my faith on campus, one of the prayers I like to pray is that God would show us those who are ripe for the good news.
Jesus’ disciples asked Jesus to eat some food because he skipped lunch. He told them he had a kind of food they didn’t know about. They wondered if someone brought him food, but he explained,
“My nourishment comes from doing the will of God, who sent me, and from finishing his work.” John 4:34
Doing God’s work is more satisfying than food.
If you want to find fulfillment in life then do God’s will for you! Part of God’s will for Jesus was to reach out to those who are ripe for the good news.
“You know the saying, ‘Four months between planting and harvest.’ But I say, wake up and look around. The fields are already ripe for harvest.” John 4:35
Many of us live in parts of the world where it doesn’t seem ripe for the gospel, but you have to believe that there are some who are ripe!
Instead of trying to pry the unripe fruit off the tree, an effective minister focuses on those who are already ripe and starts with them. There is great joy in being a harvester.
“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!” John 4:36
There is no greater joy than seeing people’s eternal destinations change. Those who harvest the ripe benefit from the others who planted gospel seeds. Both are valuable ministries.
“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.” John 4:37–38
Some people are called to plant seeds and go to hard places to soften the soil through prayer and their godly lives. Others are called to harvest those who have been prepared.
I believe that it is wise for Church planters to focus on harvesting the ripe and raising up laborers from the ripe to go into the community to plant gospel seeds with their lives.
Whether you plant seeds or harvest the ripe, there is great joy in being a part of seeing people’s lives changed by the good news!
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