12 Dear friends, don’t be surprised at the fiery trials you are going through, as if something strange were happening to you. 13 Instead, be very glad—for these trials make you partners with Christ in his suffering, so that you will have the wonderful joy of seeing his glory when it is revealed to all the world.
(I Peter 4:12-13)
The word "partner" popped out at me in this passage. I would like to look at what a "partner" is really like. There are three basic things that I saw when examining the meaning of "partner" in my exploration of this word:
- A partner has a "stake" in the process. In today's vernacular, we'd say he has "skin in the game". In other words, it costs him something. When we consider what it means to have "skin in the game" as it applies to walking with Christ, it becomes very apparent after a while that it means we will face trials - because those trials grow our faith, prove our commitment, etc. Skin in the game involves an investment. On our part, that investment comes in the form of obedience, commitment, reliance on God, etc. On God's part, that investment began with the sacrifice of his Son and continues in the daily extension of grace to us.
- A partner takes risks, but also comes to appreciate the value of those risks. There is no investment without risk. When we put monies into an investment in the banking/investment realm, we are taking the risk that the monies will "perform" in a manner that will increase our investment. As the stock market varies, the "value" of our monies will either increase or decrease - there is a risk in placing them where we do. Yet, without taking that risk, there can never be the increase in our yield from our investment. We take the ups and downs as "part and parcel" with the process of investing. The same can be said about partnering with God in this journey we call life. There are risks! We have to appreciate those risks in order to understand the value of them! We risk it all when we give it all to him - worries, things we have come to trust in as the basis of how we can survive, etc. But...the risk of placing those things in his hands is ALWAYS returned with reward.
- A partner shares equally in both the gains and the losses. This is probably the hardest thing about being in partnership with someone. There are both good things and bad things that happen as a result of partnership. The good ones we relish and celebrate. The "not so good" are made easier to face as we have someone who shared in that investment!
Sometimes we think of partnership as a 50/50 thing. With God, it is not really 50/50. In fact, he asks for us to invest 100% - there is no "half-way" with God. In turn, he commits 100% - in the form of his grace, his love, and his protection. We sometimes want to think it is okay to be "cautious" in our investment in trusting God with our lives. God's hope is that we "throw caution to the wind" as it comes to living for him! He wants us to be "fully vested" in this walk with him! He certainly is with us!