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December 12 – A Partnership That Changes the World

Philippians 1:1-11; Ezekiel 18; Isaiah 47

You probably don’t recognize the names Larry Page and Sergey Brin. They met at Stanford in 1995, became good friends, and dropped out of doctoral work together. They had worked together on some different ideas, and when they dropped out, they had about a million dollars in investor cash to see if their idea had commercial value. Don’t get too excited about the amount, this was during the tech bubble when anyone who had an internet business idea could raise a million or two to work on their idea. The Page and Brin partnership developed a successful company based on their search algorithms and their company is a household name. In addition to their company, they created a new word that people use every day: if you don’t believe me, just google them.

Some partnerships don’t work out because the people involved don’t mesh well together. Other partnerships like Page and Brin, or Gates and Allen, or Jobs and Wozniak have changed the world. They have developed a product or a service that makes such an impact on people’s lives that they seek to take advantage of the product and life revolves around that product or service. These kinds of things happened all because partners worked together like peanut butter and jelly. Paul talked about a partnership that changed the world in his letter to the Philippians. “I thank my God every time I remember you. 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, being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 1:3-6 NIV)

The Philippian church and Paul developed a partnership to share the gospel of Jesus Christ. The city of Philippi was the first city in Europe where Paul and his team preached the gospel. From the very first day the Philippians accepted the gospel message, they worked together to share it. Even though Paul and Silas were run out of the city, after getting an apology, the people of the church loved Paul because of the message he shared. They supported Paul financially. They remained faithful to the gospel message. In some cases, we see Paul talking about praying with tears; when it came to the Philippian church, it was with joy because of their commitment to Christ. The church in Philippi had its issues as we see later in the letter, but Paul was confident that God, who began working in them, would carry it through until the day of Christ Jesus.

I wonder what Paul would write about me, or my church. Would he respond to us like he responded to the Galatians, where he lit into their lack of following of Jesus almost immediately, or would he note something about our faithful service and our desire to share the gospel in partnership with him? Would Paul pray with joy because of my commitment to Christ, or would he just shake his head? We all have successes in our walk with Jesus, and we all have failures. The key to successful living as a Christian is remembering the last part of this passage: that He who began a good work in you will carry it through until the day of Christ Jesus. While we can’t be in partnership with Paul anymore, we can be in partnership with each other and with God in proclaiming the gospel. In a world filled with anger and hatred, our partnership with God can make a difference as we bring God’s grace and love to those around us. In the midst or our harsh, unforgiving world, the gospel message of mercy and forgiveness falls on us like a soft, beautiful snow, creating a wonderland of beauty.

Lord, remind me that in our partnership, You are the senior partner. Let my life reflect Your grace, love, mercy, and forgiveness to a world caught up in the ugliness of sin. Use me to help You change the world.

Daily Devotion by Bob James

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