Links Daily Devotional

Choose Your Partner

…but Paul chose Silas and left, commended by the brothers to the grace of the Lord. (Acts 15:40, NIV)

Throughout the playing of the new pairs format at the Zurich Classic this weekend, players were asked how their partnerships had come about. Some were old friends, from junior or college golf days. Other partners shared the same management company or had struck up a friendship in recent months on tour. Several partners shared the same name—such as Links Players Ben Crane and Ben Martin—while one group, (JB) Holmes and (Bubba) Watson, came with a dollop of literary whimsy.

Partnerships, especially among friends, can bring us one of life’s great joys. Certainly this is true in a marriage arrangement, where the partners vow not only to bring their beloved characteristics to the matrimony, but to grow together through the years and support one another in the face of many challenges, however hard.

The partnership between Paul and Silas was one of several ministerial partnerships we find in Acts, where God’s people lived out those earliest days of gospel-living and gospel-preaching.

Partnerships, especially among friends, can bring us one of life’s great joys.Not all of these partnerships developed smoothly. Paul and Barnabas, once famous cohorts for the gospel, clashed over the inclusion of John Mark in a later party. “They had such a sharp disagreement that they parted company” (Acts 15:39). No one likes a falling out (we never encounter Barnabas again), but Mark’s absence may have cleared the way for Timothy to enter the ministry, and we can learn much from Paul’s mentorship of the younger man.

It was Paul and Silas, however, who were jailed in Philippi in something of a civil claim. An earthquake shook the cells in the night and all the doors fell open. Here was an opportunity for the men to run free. They did not. In fact, Paul and Silas took responsibility in keeping the prisoners from escaping, thus saving the jailor’s life.

If you know the full story, you know that the facts just presented were preceded by praise and followed by preaching. When the earthquake struck, Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns in their cell, maybe soothing the spirits of all who were there. This gave the two authority that compelled the prisoners to stay put. These men were choosing the kind of justice that doesn’t just save one’s skin but does the right thing, even to one’s personal detriment.

Then, when the jailor came looking for his surely escaped prisoners and found them all there, Paul and Silas used this “open door” for the gospel to lead the man to the truth of salvation in Jesus. The man’s household believed and were baptized!

Partnerships that advance the kingdom in its nature and its message—these are the friendships we should seek as we live out our days for Jesus on earth.

Jeff Hopper
May 1, 2017
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