Working with other people is a daily fact of life for most of us.
Corporations, nonprofits, private industries and consultants all depend on people to remain viable. Even more so, their employees need to provide at least some level of cooperation among themselves in order to promote and supply the benefits the organization offers.
Working together is another matter.
Here’s where it gets interesting, eh? It’s easy to say I work at the same location as someone, but another thing entirely to say I work with them. The former means I go to the same place they do to make money, the latter that I meet at that location on common ground with a shared goal.
Consider your own workplace for a moment. How would you describe your usual day? Is it filled with clear communication and productivity? Do you look forward to going to work each day, maybe even making a difference in other people’s lives and the world?
Or, not so much?
If you have a wonderful job and great working relationships with your colleagues you are likely counting your blessings, perhaps even remembering a time when you didn’t feel so fortunate. If you haven’t had difficult work experience you have heard other people describe them. The difference is day and night, a wide gap between counting those aforementioned blessings and counting the days until your next vacation. It’s harder to be effective at your job if you don’t feel good about being there or if the people you work with aren’t supportive.
No surprise then that Jesus had a similar experience.
“And when Jesus finished these parables, he went away from them, and coming to his own country he taught them at their synagogue, so that they were astonished and said, ‘Where did this man get this wisdom and these mighty works? Is not this the carpenter’s son? Is not his mother called Mary? And are not his brothers James and Joseph and Simon and Judas? And are not all his sisters with us? Where then did this man get all this? ‘And they took offense at him. But Jesus said to them, ‘A prophet is not without honor except in his own country and in his own house.’ And he did not do many mighty works there, because of their unbelief (Matthew 13: 55-58).”
There’s nothing like a tough venue to make you think twice about your own performance, yet Jesus didn’t seem too concerned about what the hometown crowd thought of him or that he wasn’t able to do the kind of work there that he was hoping to do. What he realized is that partnership is the core of creation, the essence of faith. No matter how much Jesus believed in his own power to transform lives, that power was useless if the individual or group did not believe in that power or God as the source of that power. Belief must be partnered with belief in order for miracles to happen.
How is your partnership with your own faith? What do you believe are the parameters in which God can work in your life? Faith isn’t something we can think ourselves into, nor is it what we have been told or another person’s interpretation of the Bible. Belief is alignment with God’s purpose for us, the tangibility of God’s presence all around us, in us and through us as God’s instruments. Experiencing faith is a trial and error process, literally opening ourselves up to the possibility that God is working with us, not in spite of us. Indeed, if God is for us it is difficult to believe that anyone or anything can prevail against us.
So, how well do you think you work with God in this kind of partnership? Do you believe that God respects you as an individual and your right to free will? Do you see yourself as a co-creator of your life with God? Where does your spirituality rank in importance on your daily activity list?
Partnerships, whether personal or professional, take time, energy and attention. What we put into them is usually a measure of what we are receiving from them. It’s a new year, a good time to take stock of what you want to pay attention to in your life going forward. Just like your workplace colleagues, it can be very easy to blame God for what isn’t happening in your life that you want to be. Check back with yourself on that this week and see if, perhaps, you are resting in your unbelief as a matter of habit. What would be different if you trusted that God was already acting on your behalf?

Author's Bio: 

The Rev. Cory L. Kemp, a graduate of the University of Wisconsin - Green Bay with a double major in Communication and the Arts and Social Change and Development and a minor in Women's Studies, was ordained into the ministry of the Moravian Church in North America after completing her Master of Divinity degree studies through Moravian Theological Seminary. Over twenty-five years of experience in individual and community ministries gives Rev. Kemp an informed perception about faith, its implications and struggles in everyday life. Rev. Kemp focuses her work on helping people understand their faith and how faith can become transformational in their lives. Challenge your faith - visit