Years ago I planted a macadamia nut tree in our front yard. The gardener later put in a sprinkler system that watered it, and it eventually became a large, healthy tree that produced lots of delicious nuts.

We eventually sold our house to a friend, and now he gets to harvest all those tasty nuts! I planted, the gardener watered, and now my friend gets the pleasure of harvesting and enjoying the crop.

The same process often occurs in spiritual harvesting. Sometimes the same person does it all—planting, watering, and harvesting. But usually, as with my macadamia nut tree, several people are involved in a person's conversion.

We find Jesus teaching this same truth to His disciples in the book of John:
Do you not say, "There are still four months and then comes the harvest?" Behold, I say to you, lift up your eyes and look at the fields, for they are already white for harvest! And he who reaps receives wages, and gathers fruit for eternal life, that both he who sows and he who reaps may rejoice together.

For in this the saying is true: "One sows and another reaps." I sent you to reap that for which you have not labored, others have labored, and you have entered into their labors.
(John 4:35-38)
Shortly after my conversion to Christ, I was busy sharing the gospel with everyone I knew—and many I didn't know. I wanted the whole world to experience this wonderful relationship I had with Jesus.

But more than anyone else, I wanted my family to be saved. I hadn't seen them in years, and all they knew of me was my former days as a drug user and alcoholic. It was not the happiest of reunions, mostly because I was filled with zeal and void of wisdom. I preached to both of my parents and my sister relentlessly.

Although my mom and sister were somewhat open to the gospel, my father didn't seem to be open at all. In fact, one afternoon he bluntly announced to me that he'd liked me better when I'd been on drugs! (I think that gives you an idea of how overbearing I was in sharing Christ.)

What was I going to do? My dad wasn't responding, and I felt that the entire job of planting and harvesting his spiritual conversion was resting on my shoulders.

During this time, I was volunteering at a local ministry, answering phone calls. One day as I was busy on the phone, a woman I had never seen before walked up to me and after reading my name badge she very deliberately said, "Bayless Conley. Does your dad have the same names as you?"

"Yes, ma'am," I responded.

"Praise God!" she exclaimed. "I have been witnessing to your dad for months, and every week at our ladies' prayer group we pray for his salvation."

I was stunned. It was as if God said, "You don't need to worry about your dad. It's not all resting on your shoulders. I care about him more than you do, and I have the whole body of Christ to use as a resource in reaching him."

A few months later my dad was saved, Spirit-filled, and is now a faithful member of my church. One sows, and another reaps.

Sow seeds for your family's salvation and then trust God to take care of them.

Source: The Miracle of Mentoring by Bayless Conley
Excerpt permission granted by Harrison House Publishers