“Greet Prisca and Aquila, my fellow workers in Christ Jesus, who risked their necks for my life…Greet Ampliatus, my beloved in the Lord. Greet Urbanas…Greet Stachys…Greet Apelles…” and on and on; in this passage of Romans 16:1-23, Paul speaks of thirty-three different fellow workers of his to greet.
Tonight, the fellow laborers of the Paul Anderson Youth Home have their annual Christmas dinner party. I imagine many of you attend parties such as ours annually. It takes much more than a few individuals to do all it requires to minister to our young men 24/7. To quote a well-known politician, “It takes a village!” A village of staff of all ages, backgrounds, and genders; men and women, their spouses and families, and many households. We make up a special community.
Many of you regularly receive communications from PAYH signed by Glenda Anderson or Ken Vaughn, but behind them there is a loving staff of hard workers striving together to present to God the work of their hands. Some are right beside the young men throughout the day – on the grounds, in the classroom, in the kitchen, in the cottages. Others are behind a computer, on the phone, in meetings. Some are teaching, fixing broken things, cooking, mentoring. Ears are at work listening to Bible memory work, voices calling to thank a donor, eyes observing behavior, and hearts praying for transformation, the whole body integrating skills and talents to get it all done.
Advent began this year a week or so ago on December 1st; it is an annual seasonal opportunity for you to intently and meditatively focus on Jesus’ coming (i.e. His Advent). This includes recognizing that this birth truly involved a lot of hands over ages past, filled with many personalities – prophets, priests, and kings, poor, rich, and common – all participating and contributing to the grand scheme of the Father sending His Son in the power of the Spirit to redeem His children.
Our text, actually the whole sixteenth chapter of Romans, shows us that the Apostle Paul was assisted by many brothers and sisters in Christ in performing his ministry. Such is the nature of this many hands, minds, and hearts fulfilling the Lord’s Great Commission.
There are times you may yourself feel alone, but then none of us are really completely alone. The only truly alone human lived as such for a relatively short span before God solved his loneliness with the creation of one like him: Eve. Similarly, Elijah also thought he was it, by himself, until God revealed to him 7,000 others in Israel who had not bowed their knees to Baal. God places the lonely in families. He does not intend for any to be recluses. The permanent truth is God Himself is always near you.
We here at the PAYH have been blessed by God with you faithful souls who join with us in this ministry. At this Advent time of year, all of us PAYH staff express gratefulness to you who come alongside us with your donations and prayers for this work. As you think of us this Christmas, also give thought to ages of prophetic Advent preparation for the incarnation of Jesus, and for this reason be watching and waiting for His coming again. Try to imitate Simeon and Anna as you wait for Jesus’ return.
“Take my hands, and let them move at the impulse of Thy love. Take my feet, and let them be swift and beautiful for Thee, swift and beautiful for Thee.
Take my voice, and let me sing always, only for my King. Take my lips, and let them be filled with messages from Thee, filled with messages from Thee.”
(Second and third verses of Frances Havergal’s hymn, “Take My Life, and Let It Be,” 1874)
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