Many years ago an older friend told me the story of a missionary couple whom God had called to a very unlikely mission field. The location was a quite rural small town in the mountains of Pakistan right on the Pakistan-Afghanistan border; an extremely volatile piece of real estate today. As a member of the Board of their mission organization my friend had gone to visit them in this far off “God-forsaken place where they were convinced God had called them. The location was so difficult to reach that he could hardly believe how isolated they were, and that they had lived and labored there for nearly three decades. The local villagers and the inhabitants of the surrounding area were fiercely Muslim; so much so that in 28 years of faithfully living among them and presenting the gospel, this couple could clearly identify only one whom they knew to be a true convert to the message of Christ. Many others were their friends, respecting them not only for their years living and working among them, but because in many ways they had come to love them, if not their God. This couple continually prayed God would open the hearts of others whom they knew so well, but to this day they had not seen in their own eyes unmistakable evidence such had occurred. Just before he left my friend was moved to ask why they had stayed all those years without seeing more fruit from their years of effort. With wet eyes the missionary replied, “Because of the sovereignty of God; we are convinced this is where He called us, and He has not yet removed His call. He has his own purposes for our being here, and we want to glorify Him.
You may not agree with their determination of faith in the face of so little fruit, but an obvious question comes to mind: Is one worth it all? You could ask the same question at this milestone in the ministry of the Paul Anderson Youth Home, reaching its 50th anniversary in two days. If we had seen the transformation of only one boy over all those years would the half-century of blood, sweat and tears been worth the effort. As I asked myself that question, one boy after another came to mind; boys, young men, some now old, some recent graduates, whom God brought here that they might be made new by the Savior; any one by himself would have been worth the effort of all fifty years! I am convinced Glenda would agree. When you think of one boy at a time over the years, if he were the only one who “made it, we could honestly say, “YES! this makes it all worthwhile! The wonder is that there are so many of those ONEs who come to mind. And when you see them in such light, one individual at a time over fifty years whom God has transformed by His grace, you can hardly fathom the worthiness and the wonder of it all. We may tend to think of the hundreds of graduates, but it is the ONE who brings tears to your eyes and gratitude to your heart that God used the PAYH to reach this ONE.
There are lots of ONEs in Jesus’ ministry that you may remember: one woman at the well, one woman caught in the act of adultery, one good Samaritan, one healed leper among ten who returned to give thanks, one thief on the cross, and one you! Taken by themselves, each is worth the great cost of salvation.
On Saturday it will not be the memory of hundreds over five decades, it will be the memory of ONE. . . . . . . and then another ONE. . . . . . .and another; each worthy of the cost of the years of labor and years of keeping on when all seemed for naught. And if it is God’s will, there will be ONE more in the future, if God keeps the vision and work of the PAYH alive.
In your own life and ministry to others, is there ONE who has made all your efforts, all your work, all your prayers, worth it all? Don’t think of the many, if many there are; think of the ONE, and only then of the many, ONE at a time. Is that ONE worthy of the cost?
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