Thoughts for the Day

Friday, 24th February 2023: One sows and another reaps

Church Jesus Mission John 4

Reading : Verses from John, Chapter 4

Harvest workers

Jesus said, 'Do you not say, “Four months more, then comes the harvest”? But I tell you, look around you, and see how the fields are ripe for harvesting. The reaper is already receiving wages and is 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 labour. Others have laboured, and you have entered into their labour.’

(Lectionary, New Revised Standard Version)


Like many clergy I have reaped the benefit of a predecessor's work. Often they have nurtured people who now become possible leaders in their church. I have never forgotten the parish of Welland in Worcestershire, where the two churchwardens gave me a year's notice from the AGM. This said a lot about their kindness and generosity. We wrote down all the work, and then allocated it in smaller blocks to others. As I asked church members to do different jobs - wash the altar linen; organise the flower rota; put the heating on the night before a service; lead the intercessions, etc - I was very aware that many people were ripe for new work. The people who had first nurtured their faith, had done their job, and it was my chance to encourage the next stage of their faith journey.

Jesus calls us all to sow and to reap, not just our clergy. Here is but one example of how to nurture others:

  • Do you help your church in some way? Perhaps you read the lessons, take people to church in your car, sing in the choir, or help with children's work etc? Whatever you do, no matter how small, if you go sick or move away, who will do it then? As a start, can you find someone to 'assist' you? This is what I call "looking behind you" - all Christians should do it. You will be sowing, but also reaping. Start small, and pray about it first.


Lord Jesus,
You called Your disciples
to notice that the fields
were ripe for harvesting,
that is, that the people
were ready to learn about You.
May we too help,
by engaging with friends or family
and asking them to church,
or by inviting others to assist us
in our work.

Follow Up Thoughts

You might like to play this old chorus, sung by Islington Baptist Church:

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