We Are Labourers Together With God

God’s mission is designed for partnership between missionaries and those faithfully striving for the ministry through prayer.

Editor’s Note: This article was originally published in 1936 by Harold Commons, ABWE president, and is being republished as part of the Voices of the Past series. It appeared in Message Volume 3 No. 2, November 1936, pg. 1.

Original style conventions have been retained out of respect to the original work.

A Message to Our Prayer Helpers

Do we sometimes feel that we are doing oh so little for God’s cause? Take heart, Christian brother or sister here in the home land. Yours may not be the joy of preaching or soul-winning in the far off islands of the sea. But listen to what God says:

“So then, neither is he that planteth any thing, neither is he that watereth any thing, but God that giveth the increase. Now he that planteth and he that watereth are one: and every man shall receive his own reward according to his own labour. For WE ARE LABOURERS TOGETHER WITH GOD” (1 Cor. 3:7-9).

Who, then, is doing the most for God? He that is privileged to go to the foreign field? Some would say so. And certainly there is sacrifice and hardship involved in that service. But there are some who would rather go than stay, and yet cannot. With some, indeed, there is sacrifice and hardship to stay in the homeland and work here. With others it is given to do naught but give and pray that others may have the privilege of going. Who would say which is the more important? Which is accomplishing the most?

Neither missionaries nor prayer helpers are anything in themselves. Both are equally needed. And both are LABOURERS TOGETHER WITH GOD. The missionaries could not go if it were not for their supporters in the homeland. And after they arrive on the field their labor would be in vain and amount to little if it were not for the volume of intercession which must ascend daily to the throne of power and grace on their behalf.

The Lord has ordained a partnership. We are partners with Him in bringing in the lost to His fold. Some must plant the seed. Some must water that seed. But God gives the increase. We must water with our prayers the labors of those who plant. And only eternity, when God rewards His faithful labourers, will demonstrate who actually accomplished the most for His cause.

It is our firm conviction that the judgment seat of Christ will hold many surprises for God’s children. Not the least of those surprises will be the rewards which our blessed Lord will give to those whose names have never been mentioned prominently in missionary activity, who have never received the praises or plaudits of men, but whose earnest and fervent ministry of intercession has made glad the heart of God and opened the treasury and power house of heaven to make effective the labors of those in far away lands.

Take heart! Spend much time in prayer. You don’t have to see the results now. Leave them with God. You will know what tremendous work is accomplished by your prayers. Storm the gates of heaven. Battle against the principalities and powers arrayed against us, and remember that

“Satan trembles when he sees

The weakest saint upon his knees!”

What is Voices of the Past?

In a disconnected age where everything is “right now,” it’s easy to forget that every follower of Christ stands on the shoulders of giants. Jesus has been building his church for 2,000 years, and each of us—from the apostles to today—has benefitted from ages of faithful Christian leaders, preachers, teachers, and evangelists who came before.

ABWE is no different. Since 1927, faithful ABWE workers have stood for the truth, suffered loss, and risked all to bring the gospel to the ends of the earth. Our duty to Christ is to listen to them.

Voices of the Past is a digital feature highlighting these faithful witnesses that lined the way throughout the mission’s history. May their words guide our way today.

Harold Commons

Harold Taber Commons served as president of ABWE from 1935 to 1971. Elected to the ABWE board in 1933, he went on to become vice president in 1934. In April 1935, he succeeded Lucy Peabody to become the mission's second president. He led ABWE through many difficult years, including World War II. When he assumed the presidency, ABWE had 18 missionaries working only in the Philippines. By the time he retired, it had grown to 350 missionaries in 11 countries.