“Yoke-fellow” isn’t a word that we use much anymore. However, it is a beautiful picture of team work. Most of us have never seen a real live yoke-fellow set of oxen, but we know it is two oxen bound together at the neck for the purpose of pulling a common load.
It is known that an adult ox can pull between 6,000 and 8,000 pounds by themselves but if they are yoked together they can pull between 23,000 to 26,000 pounds. That is far more than the 12,000 to 16,000 one might expect. Perhaps this is where we derive the idea that we can accomplish more together than alone. By working together, there is an unexpected synergy that comes.
Likewise, that same set of oxen can only pull 4,000 to 6,000 pounds if they are out of step with each other. When out of step, they hinder the work of the other. This is why Paul encourages the church to be “true yoke-fellows,” meaning they must walk in step with each other and not fight against the efforts of the other. Because, when we are in step with each other and pull in unison with each other, we truly can accomplish more together than alone.
Oklahoma Baptists have embraced the “doing more together” concept. Together, Oklahoma Baptist fed 134,592 meals to hungry Oklahomans from January through September of this year. We will finish the year having fed approximately 180,000 meals through the Hunger Fund of the Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma (BGCO). That means together we feed nearly 3,500 meals each week through the BGCO Hunger Fund. We also have fed close to 96,000 meals through Oklahoma Disaster Relief (DR), which makes our weekly average number of meals around 5,350 served.
By Oklahoma Baptists working together, Baptist Collegiate Ministries (BCM) are serving 39 campuses around our state. BCMs are impacting the lives of thousands of college students with the Gospel. We have enabled 69 BGCO churches to explore and partner with churches in Latvia; Guerrero, Mexico; and Edmonton, Canada. We are training Smaller in Attendance Church, African American, Asian, Hispanic and Native American pastors through the Robert Haskins School of Christian Ministries (RHSCM). We have nearly 3,500 BGCO trained chaplains working in our state, and multiple church plants in various stages of ministry are being strengthened by our partnership.
Here is the bottom line. I can hardly begin to list all the ways our being “yoked together” is making a difference with the Gospel around our state, nation and world. Even as I write, Don Williams, DR state director, and Mark McClellan, RHSCM dean and Hispanic Ministries specialist, are serving in Puerto Rico. They carried four generators, 600 water purifying straws, and gifts of $1,000 for each of the 16 churches they are meeting with to discuss our long-term aid to the people of Puerto Rico.
Also, our BGCO Incident Command bus and Disaster Relief Chaplains are in Southerland Springs, Texas, coordinating the SBC Chaplains giving spiritual assistance to the people in the church and community. Clearly, Oklahoma Baptist are doing more together than any one of us could do on our own.
When speaking to the church in Philippi, Paul encouraged them as true yoke-fellows which labor with him in the Gospel, to accomplish more together than alone. Oklahoma Baptist accomplish this by our strong commitment to the Cooperative Program and the Oklahoma State Missions Offering. Thank you, Oklahoma Baptist, for your faithful commitment to “Serving Together” as true yoke-fellows.