Partnership is a concept we usually think of in worldly terms like business partners, two or more people undertaking a venture together that features risk and/or profit. Partnership from a biblical standpoint is different. It isn’t based on potential profit, or a risk/reward analysis. Biblical partnership is based on love. In fact, Jesus says love relationships/partnerships are of extreme significance (Mark 12:28-34).
The greatest example of partnership in the Bible is that of The Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, who provide a perfect model of partnership for us. They exist in complete harmony, each supporting the others in all ways. We see examples of their relationship throughout the entirety of Scripture (Gen. 1:26-27; Matt. 28:19; John 14:26; 15:26; 1 Pet. 1:2; Rev. 1:4-5).
What makes their relationship significant to our understanding of partnership is that God also calls us, His children, into a relationship with Him, He calls us to partner with Him to fulfill His plan for redemption, and He mandates that we watch over His creation (Gen. 1:28; Ps. 8:3-8). Jesus reaffirmed our relationship when He said, “All authority in heaven and earth is given to me. Therefore (you) go and make disciple of all nations … and surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age” (Matt. 28:18-20). Our partnership with God is our first and most important partnership, and our relationship with Him should guide us as we approach others to partner with them.
As you form and maintain partnerships:
- Remember that all of your skills and talents are given to you by God. “But remember the Lord your God, for it is he who gives you the ability to produce wealth.” (Deut. 8:18a)
- Never try to be like everyone else. God created you to be uniquely you, as He did those you are in partnership with. Respect that uniqueness, and never stop learning, so you can always live up to the potential God gave you! “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.” (Rom. 12:2)
- Know that ego will kill a relationship. Fast. Never be afraid to say you don’t know, that you need help, and be okay with deferring to your partner in areas where they are stronger. “Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall.” (Prov. 16:18)
- Learn that prayer is the key to getting through those sticky relationship situations. It will help you on those days when things do not go your way. Remember to thank God even when something doesn’t go your way. And always be grateful. “Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” (1 Thess. 5:16-18)
- Don’t be timid. God has given you the power and self-discipline you need to succeed. Approach every partnership with love and that God-given power will strengthen you both. “For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline.” (2 Tim. 1:7)
- Embrace the fact that God believes in you, even when others don’t. Not every partnership will succeed, but He is prepared to support you in every situation! “I can do all this through him who gives me strength.” (Phil. 4:13)
If your earthly partnership doesn’t work out, don’t despair! Partnerships can be risky and messy. Moses chose twelve leaders to spy out the Promised Land; ten succumbed to unbelief (Num. 13:1-14:45). Jesus trusted Judas Iscariot, and Judas betrayed Him. In both cases, even those who followed and believed got sidetracked (Peter, the sons of Zebedee, Philip, Thomas, Aaron, and Miriam). None of that stopped God from working for the good of His people! We are called to serve and persevere in love and discernment, and when we do so we allow God, our ultimate PARTNER to step in and make the best of every part of our lives. Now that is the ultimate in partnership!