Tuesday, July 2, 2019
I love the word “partner”. It is so much more meaningful to me than “friend” or “co-worker”. It conveys to me the idea of a common goal and a shared commitment. A partner doesn’t have to have the same talents or abilities, and in fact the best partners are ones that compliment my weaknesses with their strengths. Partners have a long-term approach to a big picture purpose and don’t get hung up on the short-term setbacks or inconveniences. I love having partners, and I love being a partner.
There once was a church that understood partnership with God in the big picture of His purpose. This church was willing to sacrifice its own short-term comforts and security for the sake of accomplishing a long-term God-honoring purpose. They were convinced that their highest calling was to build the universal kingdom of God to His glory, not to build a local church to their own glory. Yes, their church was a part of the big picture, but their focus was on the bigger kingdom and not on themselves. This was a church that modeled sacrifice for the sake of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. They are commended in a letter from the Apostle Paul.
Philippians 1:3-6 I thank my God every time I remember you. In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.
I saw this modeled in another church recently. This church had faithfully proclaimed the truth of God’s Word. They were steadily growing, forcing them to look at a new facility in which to carry on God’s work. From the very beginning of the process the goal was to create a ministry center where partnerships with other ministries could be established so that the whole kingdom of God was growing. A faith decision was made that God had a unique and wonderful plan in place, and the first step of the plan was to sell their current facility. Human wisdom and logic said they were nuts, but the wisdom of man is foolishness to God, and He knew what He was doing. Within five weeks the church had an accepted offer on their building and 22 days later it was done.
Human reason raised questions about the wisdom of their decision, because they now had no building of their own, and no immediate prospects for one. The only option was to rent back their own building from the new owners and work out a worship service schedule. This would seem to be a huge predicament if it were not for the partnership mentality of the people of the church. You see, the new owners of the building were a congregation of Christian people of another culture and language, and the gospel of Jesus Christ would be preached to a whole new segment of the community that the previous church did not reach. The kingdom of God would grow, and that is worth any sacrifice or inconvenience.
God had His purpose and perfect timing for every decision that was made by this church, and because they are partners in God’s kingdom purpose they willingly obeyed His call to action. Just think of the incredible partnership that is going to be developed between these two congregations in the days ahead. People from the first church training people from the second church to use modern technology to enhance their ministry outreach by sharing their equipment until they have a new home for it. People modeling humility with a servant attitude by being willing to make any sacrifice necessary to see this new congregation accomplish God’s purpose for their ministry. It was all possible because they understand what it meant to be partners with God and to be called by God to a long-term vision.
It would have been easy for them to become focused on the short-term needs and inconveniences. But that was not the heart of these people. They had a kingdom mindset, and God would honor that by carrying out to completion the work that He had begun in them. They knew the day was coming when God would provide for their ministry needs. In the meantime, they focused on providing for the ministry needs of others, and that attitude reflects the heart of God with Whom they are partners.
As God’s partner in the Gospel of Jesus Christ, with whom are you partnering to accomplish His redemptive purpose for the world?