In America, we prize our individualism, as if it were sacred. But our commitment to individualistic expression is at odds with the call of Jesus and the faith and life of the believers in the early church.
If we claim to be followers of Jesus who calls us to deny ourselves (Luke 9:23), then our attempt to cling to individualism as a Christian believer becomes a non sequitur—it’s illogical.
When Jesus encounters a Samaritan woman at an ancient well, she returns to her village to share this good news. As the story unfolds, we see their response to hearing Jesus for themselves. This was not something the disciples could see as possible.
The apostles—Jesus’ closest followers—see their relationship with Him as somewhat exclusive. What Jesus tells them and what the Samaritan villagers declare later reveals the opposite. God’s heart is not exclusive but inclusive to others.
“Don’t you say, ‘In four more months the harvest will be here’? I’m telling you to look and see that the fields are ready to be harvested. The person who harvests the crop is already getting paid. He is gathering grain for eternal life. So the person who plants the grain and the person who harvests it are happy together.
In this respect the saying is true: ‘One person plants, and another person harvests.’ I have sent you to harvest a crop you have not worked for. Other people have done the hard work, and you have followed them in their work.” [vss 35-38]
Many Samaritans in that city believed in Jesus because of the woman who said, “He told me everything I’ve ever done.” So when the Samaritans went to Jesus, they asked him to stay with them. He stayed in Samaria for two days.
Many more Samaritans believed because of what Jesus said. They told the woman, “Our faith is no longer based on what you’ve said. We have heard him ourselves, and we know that he really is the savior of the world.” [vss 39-42]
(John 4:35-42 GW)
“One person plants, and another person harvests”
Review the Scriptures above as you answer the following questions
What does Jesus tell His disciples about the time of harvest?
How is this at odds with what they say and think?
What type of harvest is Jesus speaking of and how is this made clear?
What does Jesus tell the disciples about their involvement with this harvest?
Individualism does not have a place in God’s kingdom and the work of service Jesus calls His followers to do. Jesus tells His disciples plainly that working with Him is a partnership not an individual assignment.
Jesus says His disciples have the easy part of gathering the harvest that others have sown. Who was Jesus referring to? Most likely, the Old Testament prophets, including John the Baptizer. It would also include the faithful remnant such as Simeon the prophet and Anna the prophetess mentioned in Luke (Luke 2:25-38).
Even the Samaritan woman at the well gives us an example of this. She leaves her water jar at the well to tell those in her village about Jesus. They respond by coming out to Jesus themselves (verse 40), which He refers to in verse 35. The Samaritans prevail upon Jesus to stay with them and He does for two days.
Many of them believed because of the woman’s testimony but many others believed when they heard Jesus for themselves. Our responsibility as believers is to introduce people to Jesus, as partners with Him and others who are called to this eternal harvest.
Taking it to heart...
Read through the Scripture text again as you consider and answer these questions
Who has spoken to you about Jesus and shared the gospel with you?
As a believer, who have you and are you speaking to about the Lord and His love?
Was Jesus speaking of this eternal harvest just for those disciples or for us too?
Do you personally know Jesus—the Savior of the world? If so, who have you told about Him? If not, why not and what holds you back from believing?
Meditate On This— Jesus calls those who choose to follow Him into a partnership with Him and others to sow and gather in an eternal harvest. This requires each believer to choose Him and His Kingdom’s work above their own personal interests. God is the great Includer—inviting us to partner with Him as we invite others into His family of believers.
Prayer Focus— Pray for God’s vision to see the harvest He sees. Ask Him to open the eyes of your heart to see people as He sees them. Ask Him to open your heart to those He wants to gather into His family, His kingdom.