I’ve heard the term “full partner”, to describe a prestigious appointment of a lawyer to a higher status. There are “non-equity” partners, and then there are “full” partners. It sounds like the way to go, but there are some drawbacks. There is a “buy-in” required – an investment of money that one needs to make into the firm to enter full partnership. Then there are added responsibilities, which include longer hours. Waiting for the spiritual application? Well, in the firm I belong to, everyone is invited into full partnership.
The pleasure and privilege of being invited to partner with God in His kingdom, is an ever-growing source of contentment for me. There is no greater place to serve and invest one’s life. Everyone will choose, invest, and serve somewhere. As Bob Dylan sang, in his 1979 hit single: “You’re gonna have to serve somebody.”
Those who are still deciding on whether to take up their cross and follow Christ, are oftentimes ignorant of their partnership with darkness. They actually believe that they are in some sort of unaffected neutral state, safe from any real harm. Then there are those who are in the “firm” but choose to rest on the non-equity tier status. “I’m all in for salvation but let’s not get too radical with regard to transformation.” Personally, I think it’s a salvation buy-in on the front end, followed by sanctification buy-ins for the rest of the way. The safety afforded in absolute, ongoing surrender makes this a win-win deal.
Some point out the fact that a full partner incurs a greater liability; if the firm goes under, they will suffer a loss of equity. Does this liability exist in the Kingdom? Should I be cautious of consistently buying in, investing my life’s energy and resources to the full, when more convenient, and safer looking, plateaus are available for me to rest on? Two examples come to mind.
Moses, esteemed or regarded, the reproach of Christ as greater riches than the treasures in Egypt, because he was looking to the eternal reward (Heb.11:26). He incurred a lesser loss for a greater reward. Then there is Ezekiel… he was invited into a deep partnership with God and given the assignment of dwelling among the rebellious, hardened people of Israel, in a refugee camp in Babylon. Yes, full partners don’t just get the cushy assignments!
Ezekiel was given a literal “scroll” to eat; a scroll that contained lament and mourning. God was grieving over His people. When he ate the scroll it tasted as sweet as honey. The glory of God enveloped the prophet; he heard the sound of the living creatures, and the Spirit of God lifted him up. What a glorious experience it must have been! However, the chapter ends with this verse: “I went in bitterness and in the anger of my spirit, with the strong hand of the Lord upon me.” (Ezek.3:14)
I don’t know if there’s such a thing as a “part-time Christian” but I’ve observed many people in the church who display the model. They buy in at the least costly level and choose what appears to be the most comfortable path. In the end, they will incur the greater loss and the lesser reward. Our assignment is to invest our lives and serve as Jesus did. Like Moses and Ezekiel, we will encounter the “fellowship of His sufferings”, as He seeks to redeem this “prodigal planet.” Full partners don’t punch a clock; they abide.