For those of you who are not afraid to be used by the Lord to witness to others to try and get them saved – there is a phenomenon that you will find occurring over and over again in this part of your walk with Him.
And unless you understand exactly what is occurring when this phenomenon does occur, you may find yourself starting to get frustrated, and you may start to think that maybe there is something wrong with your efforts in being able to effectively witness to others.
Here is what you will find occurring. You may have been witnessing to a friend numerous times over a period of a few months. The Holy Spirit has been perfectly leading you all of the way as to exactly what to say to that person, when to say it, and how to say it. You have been planting very good seeds inside of this person for the Holy Spirit to work with over the last several months.
You are just waiting for this person to finally see the truth of the Gospel so you can then lead them into the sinner’s prayer to get them saved. And then all of sudden it happens. Some other Christian comes along, witnesses to your friend one or two times, and then they are the one to get this person saved.
You have been the one who has been witnessing to this person over all of these months, and then all of sudden someone else comes along and steals the fruit of all your labor with this person. You then start to question your own ability to be able to effectively witness to anyone since you could not get them saved and pulled in.
You were fishing for God. You had the hook in their backs, but you just could not get them pulled in to accept Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior.
If and when this should ever happen to you, the first thing you have to realize is that you may have been doing absolutely nothing wrong and possibly everything right. What was occurring in the spiritual realm is that you were “sowing seeds” inside of this person for the Lord to be able to use to draw that person slowly in.
When you initially start sowing seeds inside of a person, at first it looks like nothing is really happening. When a farmer plants seeds underneath the ground to produce a certain type of crop he is going after, he too sees nothing happening as he is looking at the ground.
However, all of the actual growth is occurring underneath the ground where you cannot see it. And then after a certain amount of time, the crop finally starts to break through the surface of the ground to emerge where everyone can now see it.
The exact same thing occurs in the spiritual realm when you start witnessing to other people. Some people only have to hear the message of the Gospel one or two times and they are willing to come right in. Others are not as quick to respond.
They have to be “worked.” They have to be properly “played” – just like a fisherman has to play a bigger fish to get them pulled in after he initially hooks them.
What God will do with this type of person is to start sending in other Christians to start to witness to this person. He may just send in one or two over a period of several months or possibly more depending on how He wants to work this person. What is occurring over this period of time when one or more Christians are starting to witness to this person is that “seeds” are being planted in what is called a time of “sowing” by the Bible.
If you have been witnessing to your friend over a period of several months, but still have not been able to get them saved – you have been in a “sowing mode” with them. Just like it takes a certain amount of time for natural seeds to produce a crop, it may take one or more Christians a certain amount of time before all of that sowing starts to get that person close to getting saved.
But once all of this witnessing starts to really sway this person – then they are considered “ripe” for the taking. And then the next Christian who moves in for the witnessing may be the one who will actually get this person saved by having them say the sinner’s prayer.
When this happens, the Bible calls this the “reaping” period. You may have been the one “sowing” the initial seeds into this person for the Lord to work with over all of those months – but then another Christian comes in and he will be the one to “reap” the benefit of all of your sowing, and he will then be the one who will get that person to say the sinner’s prayer to get them saved.
If this should ever happen to you, do not get mad, frustrated, or upset with either yourself or with God. This is one of the “ways” that God will “work” someone who is not saved. What I have found out from personal experience with the Lord on some of these harder cases is that He will move in what I call “waves.”
God will use other Christians to try and reach this person over a certain period of time, and He will send these other Christians in “waves” to witness to that person so as not to overwhelm this person with too much at one time. These people need some time to think about and digest what they are being given. The Holy Spirit will also be working with this person with the seeds that you have been planting into this person over all of those months.
However, sooner or later this person will have to make a final decision as to whether or not they will accept Jesus and His message of eternal salvation. The Bible says that the Holy Spirit will not strive with a man forever. Once this person is ready to make a final decision to accept Jesus – then the next Christian that is sent in there will be the one to “reap” what has been “sown” over all those preceding months with all of the witnessing either you or anyone else may have been doing with this person.
What you have to really realize, if this should ever happen to you, is that all of that “sowing” that you had been doing over all of those previous months was just as important, if not even more important, than the Christian who finally gets in there to get this person saved on the day that this will actually occur.
In God’s eyes, all of the sowing that you did for the months preceding his conversion was just as important as the one who eventually ends us up getting this person saved as a result of all the hard work that you did in those preceding months. This is why all of the time that you have spent witnessing to this person has not been wasted.
You never know when God may use you to plant a seed or two into another person that could eventually be instrumental in leading that person to getting saved with the Lord down the road. Just a word or two from God through you to that person may make the difference as to whether or not that person ever accepts Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior in this lifetime.
Now here is the Scripture verse that perfectly explains the above phenomenon when it does occur:
For in this the saying is true, ‘One sows and another reaps.’ “I have sent you to reap that for which you have not labored; others have labored, and you have entered into their labors.” (John 4:37)
Notice this verse actually says that sometimes the person who gets to “reap” has not really been “laboring” for that person’s soul. All of that “laboring” was actually done by other Christians who had been witnessing to that person over the preceding months or possibly years.
Notice this verse even goes as far as to say that the person who will be reaping the rewards of all of your efforts from the preceding months will be “entering into your labors.”
This verse is giving us a major piece of revelation in showing us how God does work and play those who He starts to go after in an effort to try and get them saved before they die and cross over. Sometimes one Christian will be able to get the job done, but other times it may take numerous Christians witnessing to that person over a certain period of time before that person is willing to get saved.
God will be rewarding you for the time and effort that you put into the matter – irregardless of whether or not you were the one to actually get this person saved on the day that it had occurred. Your “labor” will not have been in vain!
The above verse is just another very fascinating verse from the Bible that is telling us what is occurring in both the natural and spiritual realms when we are witnessing to others in an effort to try and get them saved.