Every so often I come across a passage that contains the word joy or rejoice and it’s a bit more difficult to write about, especially if it is taken out of context. There are times I simply skip over them, but I am determined not to leave all the hard-to-write-about verses until the end. And I made a promise to finish the Gospels soon, so here goes: John 4:36-38
Already the one who reaps is receiving wages and gathering fruit for eternal life, so that sower and reaper may rejoice together. For here the saying holds true, ‘One sows and another reaps.’ I sent you to reap that for which you did not labor. Others have labored, and you have entered into their labor.
Jesus is speaking to His disciples just after His conversation with the Samaritan woman at the well. With her, He talked about living water, that she could drink and thirst no more. Here in His conversation with His disciples, He tells them He has food to eat that they do not know about. Neither is literal food and water, which confuses the listener. The water is LIVING WATER – faith. The food is Jesus doing the will of the Father. Right after He shares this, He speaks the above verses.
Each day I have opportunities to sow seeds of faith – sometimes it’s through a conversation or a smile. Sometimes it’s through actually teaching about the faith (this is especially true on Sundays when I teach junior high aged students for two hours). If faith is looked at like a plant (a metaphor commonly used in Scripture), then I can be planting seeds, or watering or tilling or even at some point harvesting. There’s plenty of work to be done. And sometimes, the one who sows the seeds of faith gets to see it reaped, and both workers can celebrate together.
I think I got to see this kind of celebration when my husband was ordained. The pastor who confirmed him was there. So was the pastor who baptized him. So was the dean of students from the seminary. All of these pastors who had been part of the faith-development process for Travis were there together.
And this isn’t reserved just for pastors. All those who believe in Jesus have the opportunity to be part of the “farming” of faith. God is the gardener, and we are the workers in His fields. And sometimes, we get to celebrate and rejoice at the work that comes to fruition.