12-9-2018 Co-Laborers


December 9, 2018


Last week after service I had a conversation with Brother Floyd Sampson about the soldering torch. He indicated that he still had one and to my surprise brought it in on Wednesday as a gift to me. It was an amazingly generous gesture since his dad had passed it on to him. I have it at home on a shelf outside my office. I will recall our conversation and an amazing gesture every time I walk past it.


As we spoke, we reminisced about the effort that went into accomplishing the things once done. Almost in unison we expressed a clear recollection of the labor that went into the use of the old two man crosscut saws. He could recall the many hours he spent working on one end of one. In my minds eye I could see my grandfather’s face on the other end of the one he and I used at his lake home. The thought made me smile and feel a warming moment of reconnection.


My grandfather had experience with a cross cut saw from his youth. I recall him saying that as a teenager (he was born in 1904) he would cut wood all day long for a grand total of 25 cents. When he laid his hand to one end of that long 6-foot saw it would glide across and into the log as if the log was butter. That is until I came into the picture. My inexperience was evident and challenged the whole process.


You see, there is a trick to working a two-man crosscut saw. You NEVER push… you ONLY pull when it comes time to cut in your direction. If you push, the saw buckles ever so slightly and binds on the edges of the narrow blade width cut. I can remember my grandfather reminding me dozens of times, …“Son, stop pushing… only pull. It will make the job a lot easier for both of us”. As I reflect back on those moments now, I see that my issue was that I kept telling myself that grandpa needed a little extra help. If I helped by pushing, we could go faster… wrong!


From a ministry perspective that truth still holds true. God’s Word describes the benefits of two working harmoniously together … it’s no surprise that it was King Solomon who wisely wrote…


Ecclesiastes 4:9 (NASB)
9 Two are better than one because they have a good return for their labor.


Great observation. Yet inevitably, when two are working together there are always two opinions that require harmonizing… there are two perspectives requiring common focus… and two personalities in need of common ground. This is vital because not a one of us is a clone of the other. None of us will do the same thing exactly the same way as the person standing alongside us. That means for there to be ‘a good return on our labor’ we must find a way to be compatible ‘co-laborers” with those who minister alongside us. We accomplish this by remembering that first and foremost we are “co-laborers’ in God’s service…


1 Corinthians 3:9 (NIV2011)
9 For we are co-workers in God’s service; you are God’s field, God’s building.


You see if we don’t find that common ground… if don’t learn to stop “pushing” and learn to ONLY “pull” (do our part) as we are called to… we will fall (‘burn-out”) and there will be no one there to lift us up.


Ecclesiastes 4:10 (NASB)
10 For if either of them falls, the one will lift up his companion. But woe to the one who falls when there is not another to lift him up.


I am thankful that Holy Spirit is always there to patiently remind us.

Thank you for your faithfulness. Pastor Larry