How important are partnerships in your life, and in your ministry? Have you given much thought to the partnerships in your life? Which were successful? Which were failures? Do you find yourself seeking out new partnerships, clinging to old ones, or steering clear of them altogether?
Partnerships are important. In Ecclesiastes 4:9-10 the Bible says,
“Two are better than one because they have a good return for their labor. For if either of them falls, the one will lift up his companion. But woe to the one who falls when there is not another to lift him up.”
As a teenager, I remember working in the summers for my dad, in his auto repair shop. Actually, it was a complete service garage. You could buy gasoline, get a flat tire fixed, have most anything repaired or replaced, or even have your car painted. In addition, Dad was a master welder. I was always fascinated by the oxy-acetylene torch Dad used to cut through heavy metal plates and pipes.
Acetylene is a hydrocarbon fuel that burns at a very high temperature (3200 to 6300 Degrees F), when mixed with oxygen. I remember watching Dad carefully adjust the regulator valves controlling the amount of each gas to reach the torch flame. When he adjusted the flame to the precise color and size, he would begin to heat the metal. As the metal began to melt, he would make another adjustment to the flame with a small lever on the torch, and begin cutting through a solid piece of metal like a piece of cake! It was amazing!
What a great example of the power of partnerships!
Oxygen and acetylene by themselves have little effect on iron or steel. However, when combined in the correct amounts, and placed close proximity to an open flame, they can cut through a four inch metal plate. By bringing these two gases together in a controlled environment, they have a much greater potential together than they do separately.
Partnerships between people work in a similar manner. As individuals, everyone has great potential, but when partnered with someone with complementary strengths and talents, the potential increases exponentially! Many of the greatest accomplishments in history happened because people worked together.
More than this, we need partners! Human beings were not designed to “go it alone.” The Bible is full of examples of the huge value God placed on relationships and partnerships. From the beginning in the Garden of Eden, God said “It is not good that man should be alone” so He created woman – a partner. (Genesis 2:18) Jesus sent his disciples out in pairs to minister in His name, and to proclaim the Kingdom. (Luke 10) The first missionaries sent out by the church in Antioch were sent in pairs. (Acts13).
As we move into 2014, I would challenge each of us to take a good long look at our partnerships in previous years, and to contemplate what partnerships we need for the coming year. The reality is, life is full of partnerships. The question is whether these partnerships are the right ones, and whether or not they help us and our causes reach full potential.
With whom do you partner? How would you describe the effectiveness of that partnership? What could you do to take your partnership to the next level? What would make you a better partner?