“I have planted, Apollos watered: but God gave the increase” (1 Cor. 3: 6).
Evangelism is the desire and thought of most of churches, but not our practice! There is a very good reason for this condition among us. We have confused seedtime and harvest. Christians “plant and water” but God gives the increase, produces. Much of the “guilt” preaching so popular today focuses on “production.” Get the numbers in, bring in a bountiful harvest! This is not our business. Brethren are anxious to “harvest”, but few are willing to “plant.” We have forgotten God’s law of “seedtime and harvest.”
Learning this universal law of God will warn us of the dangers of “quickie conversions.” Surely, some were converted in the first century as recorded in Acts after hearing only one sermon! But they were prepared by the Law and the ministry of John the Baptizer and the ministry of Christ. They were ready to be harvested. First Corinthians 3:6 demands time, sometimes years. Paul…then Apollos, then perhaps another and another. One planted and another reaped. Farmers do not “wish” harvest. One does not plant with a combine! We should be cautious about harvesting green fruit. Harvest, according to the law of seedtime and harvest is natural, on its own schedule.
The law of God condemns manufacturing or manipulating results. Some are “response” crazy! They get impatient; they demand results. So they scheme, deceive, intimidate. And those who are artificially converted have to be kept artificially! But gimmicks don’t last, they fail. Then, folk are disillusioned. So our job is to plant, not produce. The power is of God, via His Word.
However, we must remember that God can only produce what we have planted. God’s harvest is in our hands. We must plant the seed, His Gospel, the power to save. Even our lives should be a proclamation of God’s power to produce. He is the author and the power and to Him belongs all the glory.
B. C. Goodpasture preached a great sermon a few years ago on the law of seedtime and harvest. We need to learn and practice that law and forsake our human inspired methods of doing God’s work.