Often the basis of a good detective yarn is business partners falling out. And then, unfortunately, we hear of marriage break-ups or about friends splitting because of a broken relationship. Or even of church splits due to senior pastor/associate pastor differences or pastor/congregation problems.
Real partnership – strong and lasting – is invaluable! Its principles enrich marriages, relationships, businesses and church life.
Jesus’ prayer for his friends
When Jesus prayed that Christians, his followers, might be one he wasn’t emphasising denominational togetherness – church denominations hadn’t been birthed then! He was encouraging a unique unity with each other, even as he and the Father are one. The reason?
So that we would be partnering with one another in complete togetherness in order to do his will (John 17:20-23). Amazingly this would also have us partnering with God! Jesus’ request was a follow-on from John 15:12-15 where he commanded us to love one another and do whatever he requires of us so that he can then truly call us his friends.
What an amazing position we’re in when we partner with God… we become the friends – which means dear associates – of Jesus! Let me explain this…
‘Servant’ is doulos, a bondservant; ‘friend’ is philo, a dearly loved associate actively involved. According to Jesus, a friend of his is one who knows his thoughts and will, has been chosen by him and empowered by him. And one who willingly wants to be involved and serve him, even when the going gets tough!
When you partner with Jesus and call him ‘Lord’ – ‘the boss’ – a whole new ballgame comes into play for you! Anything is possible, for Jesus said in John 15: 16 that God the Father would give us whatever we ask in Jesus’ name. That’s mind-blowing! (Of course, we don’t ask foolishly but as directed by the Holy Spirit).
Single-mindedness – a church growth key
One of the great keys to church growth and to continuing growth is unity…oneness in purpose. The early church had this. Scripture – and history – records the success of those early Christians because they were constantly ‘in one accord’ (Acts 1:14; 2:1, 46, 4:24, 5:12, 19:29). ‘One accord’ means ‘a passionate one mindedness.’
Such unity leads to active involvement resulting in achievement. Real partnership, real togetherness means having unity in vision and purpose such as the Father and the Son had (and have). The Holy Spirit must be included here too as together they comprise the Godhead. Although they are one, each has specific positions and functions to fulfil and complete the overall goal.
And there’s a key word…complete, not compete. In church life, marriage, family, relationships and business we work together for the common good, the unified purpose, the bigger picture, the ultimate goal… not in competition with each other.
Any competitive spirit of ‘I’m better than my partner, friends, church associates’ and such is a wrong attitude that gets us nowhere! Not squabbling over petty things but flowing together in sharing our talents, treasure and time results in God blessing us individually and corporately.
We will grow in Christ and our church will also grow. Especially as we think ‘outside the box’ (traditional programs) and come up with Holy Spirit ideas that will develop our church and activities. And our marriage will be enriched and even our relationships and business can also grow richly.
So…releasing the three ‘Ts’
If Jesus is going to be Lord in your life, what are those talents you have that you can dedicate to building relationships and especially your church? What time frames are you willing to commit to, say, praying for events and people, calling on someone incapacitated and helping and praying over them, being rostered on a team (worship, baby boomers, real seniors, youth, kids,‘littlies,’ prayer and such)?
And what about the ‘treasure’ angle…always displaying a generous spirit. All these are vital roles in helping extend your church and securing its base for a quantum leap forward. Again, these are life principles that can also be applied to marriages, relationships and businesses.
Church life is not about competing or striving to leave your mark by equal input. No, it’s about engaging in equal opportunity to be of service to Jesus and one another.
Freedom – the incredible unity of the trinity!
Although the word itself is not in scripture, we rightly refer to the Father, Son and Holy Spirit as the trinity. ‘Trinity’ – perichoresis – in its original meaning was a highly expressive one.
The early church used the title not so much as to try to describe the indivisibility of the three-in-one aspect of the Godhead, but of the incredible freedom that each Godhead member has within that indivisibility as they work and flow together in oneness of purpose. It was a word connected with space, room to move, dancing around at banquets and festivals, fluid movement, and a dance of life. In effect, a description of life-bringing actions arising from a united caring mindset.
Take that on board if you consider yourself a committed local church member with purpose. You’ll get the picture that all church members should be flowing together in unity to achieve all that God wants for your church family and his outreach purposes, as well as ministering joyfully to each other. The reality is, like the unity and freedom that each Godhead member enjoys, we can each contribute, not compete, in completing Jesus’ commands and work.
When Jesus told his disciples to cast their nets on the right side of the boat after they hadn’t caught anything, they obeyed and gained an amazing catch…153 fish (John 21). Note especially verse 5: he called them ‘friends.’ He still knows the ‘right’ place for his friends to go fishing successfully for souls, happiness, real action, peace, satisfaction and such…
A season of soul catching
Church life is often about seasons in God. Presently the church is in a season of desperately needing to see many people saved, just not being a hospital for those who are already Christians. Yes, every church should care for its flock but the current Christian flock needs to increase because other religions are!
We should be ready for and into action! We need to hear his directions and go fishing actively for Jesus, allowing the Spirit to open new doors of outreach with thinking that’s outside the traditional box.
Jesus wants every Christian to be courageous and daring by thinking bigger (dreaming in God followed by action) and acting in faith, praying earnestly, believing sincerely, caring for each other and developing strong friendship, being more hungry and thirsty for his Spirit to move supernaturally through us. And to be more relational with him, and especially allowing him to be Lord (the boss).
You can do it!
Yes, you can! And with joy and personal satisfaction, seeing the results of contributing and achieving together with your pastor and other Christians.
And Jesus will greatly bless you for he loves to do so to his friends. After all, if you put him first, his right ways first, and the kingdom first, he will see to it that you have all the things necessary to living life to the full (Matthew 6: 33; John 10:10b).
Be a person of influence! Make a difference in your family, marriage, relationships, business, workplace and church.