“And he who reaps receives wages, and gathers fruit for eternal life, that both he who sows and he who reaps may rejoice together.” John 4:36
How many times do we go on a diet, lose some weight, and then put that weight right back on? It happens a lot, doesn’t it? But with God’s diet plan, the results are eternal, not temporal. Jesus said to His disciples, “And he who reaps receives wages, and gathers fruit for eternal life, that both he who sows and he who reaps may rejoice together.” (John 4:36). Jesus says that “he who reaps receives wages” or rewards for his labor. The word “wages” (misthos) is commonly used for rewards in the New Testament (cf. Matthew 5:12; 10:41; Mark 9:41; Luke 6:23, 35; I Corinthians 3:8, 14; 2 John 1:8; Revelation 22:12). The work of evangelism reaps eternal rewards regardless of whether you sow or reap.
The good seed of Jesus’ word had already brought forth fruit in the heart of the Samaritan woman (John 4:1-26). And now, the seed of her words to the villagers was about to bear even more fruit (John 4:28-30). This mass of people from Sychar were approaching Jesus and His disciples, ready to be harvested into God’s barn (John 4:30-41).
Some of us are involved in sowing the Word of God in a non-Christian’s heart. We pray for them and live the Christian life in front of them to prepare them to believe in Christ. But then another Christian comes along and does the reaping when they share the gospel with them and they believe in Christ alone for eternal life. Both are equally important. “Eternal life” in this verse refers to the spiritual harvest. Eternal life is like a big, spacious barn, where people who believe in Christ alone are gathered, like grain, for eternal preservation. The “fruit” refers to the new believers that have been won to Christ.
Part of our reward when we get to heaven is seeing the people there that we helped win to Christ (cf. I Thessalonians 2:19-20). Think about this. As you follow Christ as His disciple, you will have more opportunities to sow and reap for eternity. You may be a sower by praying for the unsaved, getting together with them for Starbuck’s coffee, inviting them to an evangelistic service, or giving financially to an evangelistic ministry. You may be a reaper by sharing the gospel with the lost and seeing them believe in Christ alone for salvation. Either way, when you get to heaven, those people who come to Christ, may come up to you in heaven and thank you for having a part in helping them come to faith in Christ.
A child may come up to you and say, thank you for praying for me to come to Children’s Church, because I came and heard the gospel and got saved. Someone else may thank you for working in the nursery while they sat in the worship center and heard the gospel without distraction. Others may thank you for the music or the food that motivated them to come and hear about Jesus. Everything that you do for the Lord here on earth can make a difference in someone’s life for eternity. And God will reward you for this.
From 1996-2000, there was a TV show called Early Edition. The main character, Gary Hobson, is startled to open his door one day to find a cat sitting on a newspaper, a newspaper that has a publishing date of the next day. It wasn’t today’s newspaper, it was tomorrow’s newspaper distributed today. Every single day, Gary Hobson would receive the newspaper for the next day. So the TV show was called Early Edition because he received tomorrow’s news today. The point of the show was Gary trying to save people from the tragedy that was going to happen tomorrow because he received news about it today. So every day he was rescuing people and changing the destinies of people because he had received the Early Edition.
God has given us the Early Edition in Bible Prophecy. He is telling us today about what is going to happen tomorrow, so we can change the destiny of our tomorrow and the tomorrows of other people today. The tragedy is for us to receive the Early Edition and keep it to ourselves. God has given us the Early Edition about the world we live in, so we can influence its direction by how we choose to live today. You cannot know someone’s house is going to burn down tomorrow and then keep silent about it today.
God has told us that people who do not believe in Jesus Christ will spend eternity burning in the Lake of Fire (John 3:36b; Revelation 20:15). He has also told us that we will be rewarded at the Judgment Seat of Christ for the things we did for Jesus in this life, including sowing and reaping in evangelism (John 4:36-38; cf. Matthew 16:27; Romans 14:10-12; I Corinthians 3:8-15; 2 Corinthians 5:10; Revelations 22:12). God wants us to have this eternal perspective because it will influence the decisions we make today.
Prayer: Father God, thank You so much for telling me what is going to happen in the future so I may change the destiny of my tomorrow and the tomorrows of other people today. I am so excited to know that You will reward me in the future for what I do for You today. The rewards I receive from You on earth will enable me to bring more honor and glory to You throughout eternity. Please show me how I may sow and reap the seed of Your Word in the lives of non-Christians today. Thank You for all the Christians who are also doing this today. Please give boldness, wisdom, and favor with others so Your gospel message may spread around this world and reap an incredible harvest before it is too late. In Jesus’ matchless name I pray. Amen.