SOUL Winning Part 2, Second Reward
One kind of reward that most people would always look forward to in this world is success. In any bookshop you will invariably find shelves and shelves of books on the secrets, strategies or principles of success. The sweet smell of success motivates people to work hard and even to stretch themselves to their limits. People labour night and day to be successful. This applies to any kind of work. One kind of work where success is very important is farming. The farmer does not mind all the hard work of plowing the land, sowing the seed and irrigating the soil, because he has only one objective in mind – to reap a great harvest! That is the reward he looks forward to. He does not mind labouring and waiting for it.
In our text we see our Lord using this concept to excite His own disciples, by employing that same word ‘Harvest’ to describe soul winning. Look at verse 35 ‘Say not ye, There are yet four months, and then cometh harvest? behold, I say unto you, Lift up your eyes, and look on the fields; for they are white already to harvest.’ It was commonly known that after sowing, there is a period of waiting of 4 months before the harvest. But in the spiritual realm there is no delay. The fields are ripe for harvest and it is time to reap. One writer has observed that the mention of ‘white already to harvest’ may have something to do with the white garments worn by Samaritans – perhaps Christ was pointed out the crowds of Samaritans dressed in white that were now coming out of the town as a result of the woman’s witness to them.
Let us consider how this applies to us. The world of sinners is God’s harvest field. The harvest involves the reaping of souls by the preaching of the gospel far and wide. The needs are truly immense. The trouble with many of us is that we do not perceive them well enough to be moved to action. Like the disciples in this situation, our vision is myopic. We do not look far enough. Therefore Christ says to us, ‘Lift up your eyes and look on the fields.’ Do they not cry out to you for help? Is your heart not moved to do something for them? Consider the needs around you. Do you have parents, brothers, or sisters who are still outside Christ? What about your place of work or study? Do you not feel a burden for your classmates or colleagues who do not know the joy of salvation? Do you not see them sinking deeper and deeper into the eternal fires of hell?
It is worth considering why our Lord chose to use this word, ‘harvest’ to describe the work of saving souls. He could have chosen a different word. Why did He not use words like ‘sowing’ or ‘plowing’ or ‘watering’? Perhaps it is because these words do not convey the idea of success that the word ‘harvest’ does. Many things can go wrong even after the land is plowed or after the seed is sown. A strong typhoon may destroy crops that are not ready for harvesting. But once the harvest-time comes, the sweet smell of success is already in the air. This is why most farming communities always have special gatherings and activities to mark the harvest time – to celebrate the rewards of success.
What does this mean for the work of soul winning? It means that it is bound to be successful. When we get involved in it we are not getting ourselves into a venture that may produce absolutely no results. Success is guaranteed by God Himself! No matter how difficult the task may get, we will be rewarded with success because God is sovereign in salvation – He opens the hearts of sinners to the Gospel and draws them to Christ. Therefore nothing can ultimately cause the work to fail. Even though not everyone will respond positively to the gospel, the fact remains that as many as God has ordained to be saved will respond wherever the Gospel goes forth.
An indication of this can be found in verse 39 ‘And many of the Samaritans of that city believed on him for the saying of the woman, which testified, He told me all that ever I did.’ The disciples must have been amazed that by winning only one person – the Samaritan woman who had come to the well, so many more were now coming to Him for salvation. The work was multiplying rapidly, because the woman was so excited about her new-found faith that she spread the good news to others also.
This process is continuing even today: God’s work multiplies and this makes every little effort you put into it significant and worthwhile. It may be efforts at home to teach your children about their need for Jesus. It may be efforts at school to talk about eternal things with your classmates rather than about the usual tests, teachers and exams. It may be efforts to pass a tract to the person who works next to you in your office. Whenever you put any effort into doing God’s work you can trust the Lord to multiply it. (cf. the five loaves and two fishes offered by one boy – that Christ used to feed 5,000 people) You may work very hard and speak to many people but end up bringing only one person to Christ, but who knows that that person may turn out to become a good soul winner who will in turn bring hundreds of others to the Lord! Who can tell how many will eventually be saved as a result of your little efforts to share the gospel with someone?
Thus far we have already seen two rewards of soul winning: To have Satisfaction in the Privilege of Soul Winning. And to have Success in the Great Task of Soul Winning. These alone ought to provide sufficient stimulus to action on our part. But the Lord adds on to these, an even more attractive incentive to encourage us further. And this is probably the greatest incentive of all. It is
By Rev Charles Seet