Grace, With Skin On

January 24, 2013 | Blog | 1 Comment

My white hand holding a black hand in prayer -- the Kingdom of God in Mayo CampOur young son was in pain and restless in mind and we tried to comfort him by reminding him Jesus was in the room. He responded, “I know, but I want someone I can see and touch.”

We are all like that sometime or other aren’t we?  Lord, you understand our need for someone to be there in the flesh, even if they are lost for words and simply give us a hug.

Reflection on Romans 16:3,4. “Greet Priscilla and Aquila, my fellow workers in Christ Jesus… Greet also the church that meets in their house.”

When we were on our short term African ministry trips and in tight or unpleasant situations two things stand out. Your presence breathing peace in our hearts, the shoulders of team members to lean on. Those words in Ecclesiastes 4:9 – 12 are so true, “Two are better than one,…if one falls down his friend can help him up…Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves…” The fact that you sent your disciples out two by two endorses this principle. I have to admit there were times in Africa (and in Australia) when I needed lifting, refreshing, and a shoulder to lean upon. Talking to you sustained the spirit. Having some-one with skin on nearby maintained the morale.

As I read the letters of the New Testament it strikes me just how many times partners in mission are listed. Many other partners to the apostles and ‘leading lights’ in the Church’s history are unknown to us but essential to the well being of you people.

The sixteenth chapter of Romans is a masterpiece of appreciation by Paul in revealing to us his support team across the years. Surely such men and women were to him your channels of grace, encouragement, comfort and provision. When he writes about his affliction not being removed, even though he prayed three times, Paul says “Your grace is sufficient…” Was part of that sufficiency the support and encouragement of faithful men and women?  Reading Paul’s letters, such names as Timothy, Epaphras, Priscilla and Aquila appear and have Paul’s ring of appreciation about them.

There are times of course when we have to stand alone. Paul knew this in his final days of imprisonment. Yet he was never alone. The memory of comrades standing true beside him, fills the hollow of loneliness with their presence. The knowledge that they will be on their knees on behalf of their comrade is reassuring and comforting.

Should I ever have to write a story of your ministry requirements in my life I’d like to list my comrades who have made Africa, and elsewhere, such special times of knowing your grace, with skin on.

My final thought: Comrades in Christ are often God’s avenue of grace for sustaining a ministry’s motivation.

Ray HawkinsRay Hawkins, “The Neurotic Rooster”, 2006, private publication, used with permission.
More information

Ray is a retired Church of Christ pastor with a love of writing, mission and kids. He keeps fit by chasing grandchildren and writing devotional meditations, and helps his son out with a sea horse tourist venture and breeding program in Tasmania. This reflection was written after 3 trips to Africa with his wife, Mary.  One final one to come.

1 Comment to "Grace, With Skin On

  • Ray Hawkins On 16/2/2013 @ 03:39 PM

    Thanks for using the devotions from my ‘Neurotic Rooster.’ I thought you might like to know I’ve put the most recent one up on my Facebook page. Encouraged folk to drop into see your website. God bless you both and the ministry.
    Ray (Hawkins)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>