They Have Labored Hard And Long


Throughout my almost thirty years in Nigeria I was keenly aware that I was working in a field ripe for the spiritual harvest, that I was supremely blessed to follow into this field the hallowed footprints of hundreds of faithful missionaries, many of whom had given their very lives in order to plant the gospel seed. Day-after tropically hot day, men and women had learned to love Nigerians, their languages and their hearts, so much so that Nigerians came to Jesus, as individuals, as families and as tribes. As a direct result of their sacrificial lives, I met in Nigeria inspiring, challenging, strong Christians grateful to their Savior for their heritage, and obedient to God’s call to share the Good News of Christ  within their own country, in Africa, and indeed, throughout the world. I found among Nigerians a hunger for the Good News and a responsiveness to the call for salvation in Jesus. I counted myself doubly blessed to have the  privilege of working among a people whose hearts were so open to God because their country had been blessed by the living presence of His obedient servants.

They Have Labored Hard And Long

They have labored hard and long,
The tillers and the sowers,
Those who have prepared the soil, they
Have labored strong, they have sweated
Under the heat of the blazing sun,
They have prepared for the blessed rains
And they have prayed for the harvest.

He has labored hard and long,
The Owner’s Son, He has tilled
And sown and lifted stones to prepare
The land, He has labored long and sweated
Under the heat of the blazing sun,
He has knelt and prayed with blood-stained
Tears, heart-broken for the harvest. 

And now we labor, we sing with joy
We cut and harvest and gather in
Bounteous fruit from all their labor,
Blessed grain and wine from His own dear
Hand, we reap what they have sown
Blessed fully by the prayers,
Hearts and hands, provided by their harvest. 

April 6, 2007
John 4:35-38 (HCSB)

“Don’t you say, ‘there are still four months, then comes the harvest?’
Listen to what I’m telling you:
Open your eyes and and look at the fields, for they are ready for harvest.
The reaper is already receiving pay and gathering fruit for eternal life,
so the sower and the reaper can rejoice together.
For in this case the saying is true: ‘One sows and another reaps.’
I sent you to reap what you didn’t labor for; others have labored,
and you have benefited from thier labor.”

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