Monday, March 5, 2018
Philippians 1:5 …because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now.
I know it’s the middle of winter, but I’m starting to get the urge to go golfing again, especially when friends from warm climates post their daily golf adventures on Facebook.
Bear with me, as I tie that urge to today’s principle of finding joy in life. Great joy is to be found in partnership with other people who are serving Jesus.
When I think about partnership, my mind immediately goes to the golf course and the wonderful experiences I’ve had on four-man teams playing in best-shot tournaments. They are called scrambles, and there is a good reason for that. On every hole, every man on the team hits a first shot, and then the team decides who hit the best one. The other three players scramble around the hole picking up their balls and bringing them to the spot of the best shot. From that place, all four golfers hit again, and the process continues until the ball is in the hole. The final total score of the round of golf is far superior to the score any one individual could have made. Bad shots are immediately forgiven and forgotten, because one of the partners has stepped up and hit a good shot. Every partner is essential. Each partner’s strengths are identifiable, yet they never demand individual recognition. The total focus is on the team and the glory of the outcome is shared equally.
What a beautiful picture of our partnership with one another in the body of Christ. The Holy Spirit has given us all individual gifts and strengths, but in humility no one partner demands individual recognition. When one of the partners hits a good shot toward the target of fulfilling the Great Commission and the Great Commandment, the other partners join him at that spot. The partner who did the good work for God doesn’t stand and gloat, but rather immediately melts back into the team, and together they continue the process.
It’s just like Henry Blackaby says in his book Experiencing God, “See where God is working and then join Him there.” That’s what partners do – come together to accomplish God’s purpose.
Partners also recognize that the final outcome of the team is far greater than what any one individual could have accomplished on their own. Not one of the partners is capable of perfection, and when one of them hits a bad shot, the rest of the partners are there to quickly encourage and help bear the burden. The next partner picks up a club and takes a swing at the problem, not the person. Partners immediately forgive the erroneous shot because they know the heart of the partner, and that he did not intentionally hit poorly. They encourage and build up the person who messed up, and get personally involved in correcting the problem. That’s what partners do – they forgive and forge ahead.
Partners also share equally in the final reward for the team’s efforts. When one of the ministry teams in your church accomplishes a task that glorifies Jesus Christ, no one team member is honored above the others and no team member is excluded from the celebration. In fact, according to 1 Corinthians 12:24 – 26, “God has combined the members of the body and has given greater honor to the parts that lacked it, so that there should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other. If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it.” That’s what partners do – they share the sorrows and the joys equally.
Paul was filled with joy because the Philippian church understood partnership. I am filled with joy because you do too. You will be filled with joy when you become such a partner in your church.