waiting-for-a-harvest“I have shared Jesus with so-and-so for as long as I can remember, but it doesn’t seem to be doing any good.”

Have you ever felt that way?  If the truth were told, I have felt that way many times … in the past!  But things began to change when I realized that “soul-winning” or seeing the harvest was a bit more than I had understood.

It started when a man, off the streets, came to see me one day.  When he sat down, I asked what I could do for him.  His reply was simple and straight-forward.  “I have just accepted Jesus into my life and I want to be baptized.”

For a moment I thought, “Hold it!  That’s not how it works.  I had no part in this.  He has never been in my membership class or even heard me preach!”

Before I could say anything, he asked if he could tell me his story.  After years living a pretty rough life, in and out of home, in and out of jail, in and out of marriage, in and out of rehab, and after many people speaking into his life, he finally came to his senses, confessed his sin, and headed to the nearest church.

It was then that I realized how many people had played a part in where he sat that morning.  Some had been hard on him, some had made him think, some had just loved him no matter what, some had sowed … and now here I sat … humbled that I would be part of the harvest.

While I grew up in a small town, I had some farming and gardening roots, thanks to my grandparents who raised me.  Along the way I learned about getting ready for the harvest.  It went something like this:

First, the field had been made ready.  On occasion, this meant removing rocks and stumps, trees, and really big weeds.

Second, once the “junk” had been removed, you had to plow–and plow deep–to stir up the good soil and make it ready for the next steps.

Third, when the soil had been prepared, there came a time of seed scattering.

Fourth, after this you watched that field and watered that field/garden, and made sure the weeds were taken care of on a regular basis.

Fifth, there often came a time of pruning or cutting back, or thinning out, or dead-heading to encourage growth.

Sixth, of course you added fertilizer when needed, to encourage growth.

And seventh, you waited for the harvest.

Now friends, think about this in the context of soul-winning for a moment.

How many people do you know that need some stumps or rocks removed from their life before any seed can be planted?

How many people literally need to be plowed through a few times?

Do you recognize a field that is ready for planting?

Once the seed is planted, have you followed up by watering?

Has there ever been a time when you had to encourage or rebuke or challenge a fellow Christ-follower?

Have you been a constant and consistent fertilizer?

Each of us plays a role in making disciples, growing the new believers.  But let us remember that it is the work of the Holy Spirit that cals, gathers and enlightens as Martin Luther said.  We are but laborers in the vineyard.

Who knows what role we play in this process.  Some of us may spend our entire lives helping get rocks and stumps out of people’s lives.  And some of us will unexpectedly experience harvest.  But no matter our role, it is an important one.

As for me, I rejoiced that day to be part of what the Spirit had done in that man’s life.  And I also rejoiced in the role that many, many people had played in his life leading up to that point.

This is also why I continue to pray for wisdom, asking the Spirit to show show me my roll, as I scatter the seed!

Galatians 6:9, And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up. (ESV)