A.W. Tozer said, “God is looking for people through whom He can do the impossible – what a pity that we plan the things we can do by ourselves.” How true. Partnership is important to accomplish anything worthwhile. Partners make us better. Solomon said, “Just as iron sharpens iron, friends sharpen the minds of each other.” Partners do not compete with one another; they complete each other. Notice these partners from the Bible and the good they did together. Notice how they sharpened each other. In every instance each was concerned with the other’s well-being, not his own.
Joshua and Caleb were partners who ignored the nay-sayers and trusted in the promises of God (Num. 13:30). How many times do we need someone to stand up with us and say, “We are able” while all around us are saying, “No we can’t?” The nay-sayers discouraged the hearts of their brethren and cost them their lives in the wilderness. The Lord appointed Joshua to take Moses’ place as leader over Israel. Joshua and Caleb led the new generation of Israel over the Jordan to possess the land of Canaan. Moral: be a partner with Joshua and Caleb doing the Lord’s work instead of inventing excuses why we can’t.
Next, notice Ruth and Naomi who teach us that partners commit to journey together and are spiritually linked (Ruth 1: 16, 17). We all need someone who is loyal and trustworthy to walk by our side. Someone on whom we can depend without reservation.
Also, Jonathan and David are two other partners who teach us that partners trust unconditionally and take risks without reservation. Marriage partners ought to be this way. The hurt of infidelity is that trust and loyalty have been broken by one in whom we have given our self. Partnership makes us vulnerable to the weakness of others in whom we trust and on whom we depend. But how sweet it is when that trust and loyalty grows deep, providing a feeling of safety and security with such a partner. In fact, nothing compares this side of eternity.
Further, Nehemiah and the builders show us that partners take on daunting tasks and refuse to stop until the work is done. John Wooden, famous basketball coach for UCLA said, “The main ingredient is the rest of the team.” One person can be a crucial ingredient on a team, but one person cannot make a team. The team player is one who makes things go. He is the one who is willing to do and sacrifice whatever it takes to make the team successful (Eccl. 4:9-12).
Moreover, Paul and Timothy show us that partners provide value and encouragement to one another. We all have our Paul’s in our life. Many of us are Timothy’s. Where would we be without one another? When Paul wanted someone to come to him in a time of difficulty he called for Timothy (2Tim. 4: 9). Who do we want around us to comfort, help, and support when times are tough? We want someone who understands, who has walked with us, who has worked with us, who has the same concerns we have. Paul was better for having Timothy to help in his work for the Lord. He was his right hand man (Phil. 2:20-21). Timothy was certainly better for having Paul. He was his father and mentor in the faith.
Paul described partnership best, “For as we have many members in one body, but all members do not have the same function, so we being many, are one body in Christ, and individually members of one another” (Rom. 12:4-5). We all have a work to do. We each have different talents. But, we all need each other to accomplish what the other cannot do by himself. Together we can do great things for God. “Behind every able man there are always other able men” (Chinese Proverb). Our American proverb is, “Behind every good man is a better woman.” Few people are successful all by themselves.
by Rickie Jenkins