Short Meditations in John 4: 37. Relax in your role
Jn 4:38 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.”
In the Church we often excel in Jacks of all trades, men who are the minister who do everything there is to do in the church, but that is not the Biblical New Testament model for leadership and Jesus hints at that in this verse. The disciples get sent out to reap, to bring people to Jesus, but they haven’t done the hard work of preparation of those lives. We’ve commented before that it is often said that a person needs to hear the Gospel at least six times before they respond to it. That means that there have probably been at least six people or six occasions when the Gospel has been up for discussion in this person’s life, until one day, one person has the joy of bringing them to the Lord.
Now what this also implies is that there are likely to be at least five people or five times when it appears the word has fallen on stony ground – but in fact it wasn’t, it just took a long while for the seed to germinate and grow. This should say to us, don’t be despondent when you share God’s love with someone and they appear to go away unchanged. You don’t know which link in the chain you have been and (frustratingly from our point of view!) who knows but the next time the subject comes up with someone else, they will come through. I have known that a number of times. I have preached the Gospel faithfully with little apparent result, and then, lo and behold, a few weeks later someone else finds them almost running into the kingdom and bring them through. It happened not long ago that I was preaching and then after the service one of the ladies brought a visitor through to know the Lord, a visitor who had heard the word and got convicted by hadn’t responded to my prayer at the end – yet a quarter of an hour later the penny dropped and they came right through.
Our call is to be faithful in whatever the Lord calls us to do. Sometimes it is simply to be one of the first five links in the chain, sometimes it is to be the harvester at the end. He is the one who does the ultimate convicting and bringing new life into being. We are simply sowers or reapers.
As this is true of sharing the Gospel, so it is true of gifting in general. The Lord is the one who gives us gifts and abilities and Paul in chapter 12 of 1 Corinthians paints his amazing picture of us all being members of one big body of people, the body of Christ today. God brought us into this body and He was the one who gave us particular gifts and it is those gifts that make us different ‘members’ of the body with different abilities and different roles. Rest and rejoice in your role.