Shoulder to Shoulder

Written by | January, 2014
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From the Field                               Nov. 27, 2013  Shoulder to Shoulder

In our working with our overseas brothers there is always the temptation to carry out the old saying that he who pays the piper calls the tune. This kind of dominance is out of place for  us who are co-workers with God and with one another. It could easily cause people to do things for the wrong motive. While we may control some purse strings, it dare never be a coercive kind of control. Several things work against this domineering.

As Americans we generally have  a natural, inherent egalitarianism. We do not come from a society with strict classes of one over another; rather there is mobility among economic and social stations of life in our country and has been for a very long time.  The inherent American ‘slap on the back’ type of friendliness works against lording it over our overseas brothers.

Whether it is with missionaries or mission helpers, for long term or short term visits, our brothers treat us with respect and love. We do not demand it, but they give it appreciative of our being with them. And what  goes a long way to bolster this love and respect, we are with them in the village and congregation seeking to be one with them.

Above all it is Scripture which sets the tone for shoulder to shoulder work and arm in arm assistance. Paul treated his associates in the work as co-workers not underlings. Casually browse through Acts 10-28 and the ends of his epistles and notice the language he uses in describing those he worked with not over. It all starts with the concept that God works with us and we with Him, “Working together with Him, we entreat you…” 2 Cor. 6:1 If the holy, almighty God deigns to work with us worms, think how we aught to treat one another as we work together for Him. Knowing this leads to, “For we are fellow workers for God; you are God’s field, God’s building.” 1 Cor. 3:9

This shoulder to shoulder working relationship carries over to an arm in arm helping. Brother clasps the hand of brother stepping fearless through the night. We help spiritually above all and not from a ‘better than you’ position, but from an ‘all in the same boat’ stance. And for each other often flows the sympathizing tear. We pray for one another and think compassionately. Actions flow forth from thoughts as we help in a variety of ways. What a fellowship, what a joy divine, together leaning on the everlasting arms!