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.
36 And he that reapeth receiveth wages, and gathereth fruit unto life eternal: that both he that soweth and he that reapeth may rejoice together.
37 And herein is that saying true, One soweth, and another reapeth. (John 4:35-38)
Here Jesus spoke to His disciples just before the people of Sychar came to see Jesus at the recommendation of the woman at the well. The disciples are about to reap many souls ready to hear the truth when they didn’t have to do any searching for them or sowing gospel seeds.
I really like verse 36. “[H]e that reapeth receiveth wages, and gathereth fruit unto life eternal: that both he that soweth and he that reapeth may rejoice together.” The first part we know; the reapers receive a great blessing of joy in the eternities for bringing souls to repentance, but the second part gets ignored, and it has a promise that I never noticed before-- “that both he that soweth and he that reapeth may rejoice together.” That says to me that someday in the next life, the news will get out to all the people who sowed gospel seeds that they had a part in the bringing someone to salvation. That means I will get to find out who got reaped. I may find there are souls I seeded without even knowing it.
I will get to find out how all the gospel seeds I planted bore fruit and what part my influence played in the grand and gripping story of someone’s conversion. With the person who reaped and the other people who planted seeds, I will get to rejoice that our work paid off.
We know from D&C 18:15 that if we labor all our days crying repentance and bring only one soul to Christ, our joy will be great, but often the reaping may be far enough from the sowing that we don’t get to participate in that joy in this life, and others reap in our place. Other times we may be the reapers of other peoples’ work to sow gospel seeds.
I like the promise of John 4:36 because I have been mostly a seed planter, not getting to see the reaping of souls. We seeders occasionally wonder if we are doing any good. Someday I’ll get to know. Someday you’ll get to know too. In the meantime, we sow.