We Are Partners
27 August 2019
We Are Partners
Reading: Jeremiah 52; Psalm 143-144; Revelation 1
4 This letter is from John to the seven churches in the province of Asia. Grace and peace to you from the one who is, who always was, and who is still to come; from the sevenfold Spirit before his throne; and from Jesus Christ… 9 I am John, your brother. In Jesus we are partners in suffering and in God’s Kingdom and in the patient endurance to which Jesus calls us. I was exiled to the island of Patmos for preaching the word of God and for my testimony about Jesus. (Revelation 1:4, 9 NLT)
John was writing to churches who were being persecuted for their faith in Jesus Christ. They suffered economically, politically, and socially. Some faced imprisonment, torture, and death. John identified himself as their brother and their partner in suffering, in God’s Kingdom, and in the patient endurance to which Jesus calls us.
When I put my name in verse 9 in place of John’s name it reads, “I am Jim, your brother. In Jesus we are partners in suffering and in God’s Kingdom and in the patient endurance to which Jesus calls us.” This makes me think about Christ-followers in many other parts of the world—my brothers and sisters—who are experiencing the same kinds of suffering that John’s first readers experienced. They suffer economically, politically, socially, and physically for their faith in Jesus Christ.
This brings to mind three questions:
• Am I their partner in suffering? I’m blessed beyond measure to live in a place where people of every faith can believe, worship, and practice their religion without persecution. Do I partner with those who don’t have these freedoms through awareness, prayer, and pro-active involvement?
• Am I their partner in God’s Kingdom? God’s Kingdom includes all believers of all cultures, races, nationalities, and generations. Do I acknowledge that Christ-followers whose expression of their faith differs from mine are part of the same Kingdom? Do I fellowship and partner in ministry beyond my own national and organizational borders?
• Am I their partner in patient endurance? My life is so easy and so convenient. As a 21st century American, I wait for fewer things than most anyone on the planet. And when I do have to wait, to endure, do I endure patiently?
Father, Please help me to truly be a partner with my brothers and sisters in Christ around the world and in your true Kingdom. In Spirit and in Truth. Amen.