There are certain people that when you say one name you think of another person. For example…
Abbott & Costello
Barnum & Bailey
Butch Cassidy & the Sundance Kid
Laurel & Hardy
Proctor & Gamble
Tarzan & Jane
Cheech & Chong
In the Bible, we also read of dynamic duos who formed an unforgettable partnership.
Moses & Aaron
Joshua & Caleb
David & Jonathan
Elijah & Elisha
Aquila & Priscilla
Paul & Timothy
This week I am presenting lessons on “Spiritual Leadership: Every Believer’s Commitment to Growth” at the Manslick Road church in Louisville, Kentucky. Yesterday I spoke on “The Power of Partnership.” I want to share with our readers a few thoughts from that lesson.
Partnership involves a relationship. Affiliation. And association. It implies cooperation. And requires a shared aim and focus to achieve success.
Partnership is a prevalent theme in the Bible. Especially in the New Testament church. Paul referred to Titus as “my partner and fellow worker” (2 Cor 8:23). To the Philippian church, he spoke of their “partnership in the gospel” (Phil. 1:5). And even husbands and wives are called “partners together” (I Pet. 3:7).
Consider these three important points regarding our partnership in the gospel.
#1 Our partnership is spiritual and predicated on our fellowship with God.
The apostle Paul affirmed this when he wrote “we are workers together with (God)” (2 Cor. 6:1). One version renders it“partnership together with Him.”
Our work in the local church must be the result of our mutual relationship with the Father. Apart from God, our partnership is no more than a mere social or secular relationship. But based on Him and through Him, the sacred bond provides power and purpose.
Pastors, preachers, deacons, teachers, and all members are partners in the greatest work on earth. Some sow the seed. Others water and fertilize it. Each member individually brings various gifts, talents, and skills to encourage, edify, and energize the whole Body.
#2 Partnership unifies for strength.
“Two are better than one; because they have a good reward for their labor (Eccl. 4:9).
Dr. Charles Lever reminds us of the importance of a unified partnership. “Union implies that we’re together in time and place but unity implies that we’re together in mind and in spirit. Union implies we’re together in location, but unity means we’re working toether.”
Like Aaron and Hur, who literally held up Moses’ hands during Israel’s battle with the Amalekites (Ex. 17:8-16), we figuratively and spiritually hold up the hand of our spiritual leaders, the Shepherds.
Good partners pray for their leaders. Accord them respect. Encourage them. Support their decisions. And make it easy for them to Shepherd us. When we unify with our pastors who watch for our souls, we are stronger.
#3 Partnership clarifies our mission.
When you share together the same goals, values, and guiding principles based on the same standard of authority, you know what the mission is.
Jesus sent out the disciples 2×2 with a stated mission of going to “the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” In a general way, our mission is the “Great Commission” (Mk. 15;15-16).
In a more specific way, we read of the Jerusalem Christians worshiping together in praise to God. Enjoying fellowship. Being discipled in doctrine to become more like Christ. Serving one another’s needs. And reaching out to the lost with evangelistic fervor (Ax 2:42-27).
When we understand the basis of our partnership, the nature of our partnership, and the purpose of our partnership, the mission becomes crystal clear.
To paraphrase Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr, the renowned American jurist, “The great thing in the world is not so much where we are, but in what direction we are moving” as partners together with God.
–Ken Weliever, The Preacherman