It’s nice to know that when you help someone up a hill, you’re a little closer to the top yourself.

-Vern McLellan

Read Philippians 1:7

The Lord allowed me to serve on a short-term mission trip behind what was then the Iron Curtain. It was a time when Eastern Europe (the Soviet Union) was “closed” to all expressions of religious faith. That summer, I learned something about the difference between borrowing and giving.

Our team shared Christ with two young men who then asked to borrow our Bibles. The next day was a blessing and a shock. We were delighted to discover that these young men had stayed up all night reading, but we were alarmed that police came to arrest us for proselytizing. Our defense was that we had not given them the Bible; we had only allowed them to borrow it. The government authorities argued that once someone has read a book, the knowledge could not be given back. How right they were!

In his letter to the Christians in Philippi, Paul told them they had a special place in his heart. They had been faithful to him in and out of prison and had “shared together the blessings of Christ.” They had put their shoulders next to his in the Gospel work.

On my mission trip, I felt the support of my own “Philippians.” Thanks to twenty-five prayer warriors back home praying day and night for me, the encounter with those two young men was a divine appointment. God had a marvelous purpose for us to be in that particular place at that specific time. Our boldness in sharing and defending the Gospel was more than we expected of ourselves. Even amid danger, we were safe in God’s hands.

I don’t know what became of those men. Perhaps they are pastors in Russia today. What I do know is that my church family made the difference on that mission trip. They were as much a part of it as I was. They shouldered the work together with me.

Faith Baptist Church is not the building we are currently building; it is a body of believers who have been called to shoulder the work together. When you commit to pray for members of your Bible Fellowship Group, to encourage a brother or sister in Christ, to serve in a leadership role, or volunteer your time in a ministry at Faith, you are helping to shoulder the work.

There is so much to do. Through your service, you may lose the difference between giving and borrowing. Even something small that you lend in the service of Christ can become an eternal gift! God promises to multiply your efforts to bring glory to His kingdom.


Are there ways that you might be a “Philippian” to the Christian ministry of others? Are you fulfilling commitments at church made because of guilt and not out of passion? Pray that God helps you recognize your unique gifts and where you can joyfully shoulder the work!