Transformation Through Partnering
Jesus sent out His disciples into the common pathways of the community of Galilee. They rooted themselves in a neighborhood vineyard. They deployed their light on a community lampstand. Partners in ministry are there to be resistant to decay and exemplify the moral excellence and good deeds to the members of the community pathway to whom they minister.
Jesus told the rich young ruler to “sell all you have, give to the poor, and follow me”. This needs to be executed and applied in each pitched tent and in each neighborhood community. Partnership exhibits a love that is self-less and free from the superficial values.
“By this we know [and have come to understand the depth and essence of His precious] love: that He [willingly] laid down His life for us [because He loved us]. And we ought to lay down our lives for the believers;” I John 3: 16.
Partners, such as these, will bear the burden for each other’s troubles and problems. They will involve and commit themselves in the restoration from hurt to healing, from separation to oneness, and from disfunction to purpose. Those who are hurting, who are disenfranchised and who are disabled will be drawn to this quality of salt and light.
Matthew 20: 26-28…… but whoever wishes to become great among you shall be your servant, 27 and whoever wishes to be first among you shall be your [willing and humble] slave; 28 just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life as a ransom for many [paying the price to set them free from the penalty of sin].”
A ransom is a demand payment to be obtained in order to release a prisoner. The neighborhood community is a prisoner of the darkness. It is the spiritual death, disfunction, disability, disenfranchised separation, and deception that holds the neighborhood captive awaiting trial. A partnership that pitches their tent in the neighborhood seek to make those demand payments so as to release those who are trapped.
“And do not be conformed to this world [any longer with its superficial values and customs], but be transformed and progressively changed [as you mature spiritually] by the renewing of your mind [focusing on godly values and ethical attitudes], so that you may prove [for yourselves] what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect [in His plan and purpose for you],” Romans 12: 2.
Genuine transforming love does not conform. Transforming love does not “play it safe”, stay with the “old school”, the “old paradigm” and stick with the “status quo”. Conforming love always seeks that which is compatible and comfortable.
A recent quote from facebook stated, “I am okay with being a loner and having a small circle. I enjoy my own company and only want to be around people who genuinely enjoy being around me.” A small circle of people where the relationships are compatible and safe is not self-less transforming love..
Going into the neighborhood to seek out people where we fit, where we can feel successful, where we are accepted and where we are happy is self-serving. It selfishly seeks a neighborhood that serves our needs and our interests. As we partner to be salt and light in the vineyards of the neighborhood, we must not have a conforming mentality and just seek out neighbors that are like ourselves. Conforming is not the distinctive profile for partners pitching their tent in the neighborhood.
You have anointed and refreshed my head with oil; My cup overflows. Surely goodness and mercy and unfailing love shall follow me all the days of my life, And I shall dwell forever [throughout all my days] in the house and in the presence of the Lord. Psalms 23: 1-6 (AMP)
Transforming partnerships are similar to the shepherd in the psalm that has provided the abundant life, protected the abundant life, and has now sustained a bursting forth and running over of all that the sheep will ever need. Goodness, mercy, and love follows our lives as we now dwell forever in the house and presence of the shepherd.
It needs to be pointed out that this shepherd partnership is rooted locally with the sheep, rooted in the needs, cares, and interests of the sheep, and rooted in self-less love that keeps the sheep near to themselves, in their presence, and in their house.
Heavy and laborious burdens keep the neighborhoods from His green pastures, from His still waters, from His restoration, from His refreshment, and from His anointing. Transformation through partnering is shepherding the vineyards of the community with self-less love that compels us to prevent decay and destruction of the neighborhood.