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Partnership

 

In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now,

 

Philippians 1:4,5

 

One of the great truths about life is that you can’t live it alone. It’s impossible. It’s downright arrogant to think you can somehow make it on your own. It doesn’t matter if you live in a big city, in a small town, or way out in the wilderness. Our lives all depend on others.

 

Think about the clothes you are wearing. Did you make them? Even if you sewed them together, where did you get the cloth, thread, scissors, sewing machine, and pattern from? The food you’re going to eat today, Did you grow it without any help from anyone? Where did the seeds come from? Or the water that flows from your hose that moistens the soil? Where did the meat come from?

 

Yes, we are all connected to someone else. But it’s more than that. Our very lives started with our mother and father. We didn’t feed ourselves for a long time. We sat at our mother’s breast and then in the arms of many who patiently and gently put food in our mouth while we spit most of it back out.

 

We didn’t educate ourselves either. There are literally hundreds of people that went to college, earned degrees, and then drove to school each and every day just so we could learn how to read these words. How to perform math that’s woven into every time we buy something with cash or credit cards.

 

Paul has that kind of community feeling about the Philippians. It all started when he first shared the message about Jesus and his dying for us all. Lydia believed and was baptized and opened her home to Paul and the preaching of God’s word[1].

 

His didn’t turn his feelings of partnership with the Philippians to bitterness when they were arrested, severely beaten, and thrown in jail either[2]. It would have been so easy to turn on everyone and everything associated with Philippi. But Paul didn’t. He still remembers their partnership.

 

This partnership was just like the word itself. They were partners in a ship. They had important things that they shared. They had the same interests and goals that were so crucial that they worked together. It drew them together. They were tied together in a common cause.

 

And like any ship, they were going someplace. A ship isn’t designed to just sit there on land where it’s made. Or to stay tied up at a pier. No, a ship was made to go someplace. To do something. To carry people and things to new places. A ship is built to move and do what it was made for. A ship was made for action and adventure.

 

That’s what Paul and the Philippians were doing together. They were in partnership with one another. They were united by something bigger and more important than any of them individually. And what has this thing that brought them together?

 

Well, it wasn’t a what, but a who. And that who was Jesus. Since Christ came and paid our massive and eternal debt, they just couldn’t ignore him. They had to worship him. They had to serve him. They had to tell everyone they came in contact with. The good news was just so exciting and energizing that they couldn’t just sit there and selfishly enjoy it for themselves.

 

Think about this for a second. Who do you talk about the most? It could be your spouse. Your kids. Your grandkids. Whose pictures do you pull up on your phone in front of perfect strangers because you think they are just so great. So special. So wonderful.

 

They mean so much to you that you just have to talk about them. You can’t help yourself. They’ve invaded your heart, your life, that you can’t stop thinking about them. You can’t stop talking about them.

 

It’s like that scene in You’ve Got Mail when Kathleen and Frank are breaking up. They’ve been together for so long but someing’s happened. Or should I say, someone’s happened. Frank’s met Sydney Ann and explains his attraction by saying, “I can’t help myself.[3]

 

That’s where Paul is with the Philippians, he can’t help himself. Both Paul and the Philippians are at that same place when it comes to Jesus. They just can’t help themselves. They have to worship Jesus. They have to tell people about Jesus. They have to serve people because of Jesus.

 

So, does your relationship with Jesus look, sound, and act like this? Are you at the place where you just can’t help yourself when it comes to Jesus. Is he the overwhelming love of your life? Is he the one that stirs your soul to greater and greater devotion to God? And move you to serve people more and more?

 

If not, then perhaps you don’t have the real disease. Maybe you’ve only got just enough to make you feel better. But Jesus’ isn’t interested in that kind of relationship with you. He gave his life for you, so we must give our life to him.

 

That’s the kind of partnership God wants with us. With you.


[1] Acts 16:13-15

[2] Acts 16:22-24

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