There are promises in the Bible which are conditional. When we do not receive the thing promised we often come to false conclusions. It does not occur to us that we have not met the conditions of the promise. Yet this is the most obvious explanation.
For example, “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.” (John 4:37,38).
If we do not reap we conclude that we are sowers. This is a false conclusion. The Lord clearly said, “I sent you to reap.” If we were sowers we would also be reapers, as the following true statements from the Word indicate.
“He who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully” (2 Corinthians 9:6). We can add a legitimate extension to this: “He who sows nothing will also reap nothing.” If we reap nothing it is not because we are sowers but because we are not sowers. The harvest is in direct proportion to the amount sown.
The harvest is of the same kind as that sown. “For he who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption; but he who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life. And let us not grow weary in well doing, for in due season we shall reap, if we do not lose heart” (Galatians 6:8).
The harvest depends on how we sow: “May those who sow in tears reap with shouts of joy! He that goes forth weeping, bearing seed for sowing, shall come home with shouts of joy, bringing his sheaves with him” (Psalm 126: 5,6).
Of these passages in context only the first is talking about evangelism. The second is about giving money, the third on character, and the fourth probably is about sowing real seed. But in every case the harvest and the reaping are the normal consequences of sowing and the passage of time.
“A sower went out to sow” (Mark 4:3). Much of the seed fell on poor ground and never came to harvest, it is for one or more of the following reasons:
1) We have sown and are now waiting with patience to the time of harvest.
2) We have not sown.
3) We have sown the wrong kind of seed.
4) We have sown sparingly, and all of it fell on poor ground.
5) We have sown, the harvest is ripe, and we refuse to reap.
The first is the only legitimate position; the rest are tragic.
Written in 2013.