Collaboration and Community

Last weekend I was working with a friend on a project in the garden and it reminded me again of the importance of collaboration. We completed in two hours a task that on our own would have probably taken over eight. A simple example, but it opens a bigger concept I think we often struggle to grasp.

We read in the bible that Jesus lived a collaborative lifestyle and he taught the disciples the wisdom of collaboration. In Luke 5:4 he invited Simon Peter “Now go out where it is deeper and let down your nets to catch some fish.” Jesus first invited a level of faith and then created a moment beyond their own resource and waited. In verse 7 we read “a shout for help brought their partners in the other boat and soon both boats were filled with fish and on the verge of sinking.” The disciples were astonished with the catch of fish they had taken. The key: They first trusted and then decided to reach for help and not try to haul the catch in themselves.

Jesus, the ultimate supplier of all things, borrowed many items including homes and even a donkey. We don’t always know who these people were that loaned Jesus these things but we know that they were people with whom he had built a collaborative relationship. He worked with the rich and the poor, religious leaders and business leaders. He modeled partnership and collaboration and so the early church thrived on this.

When I first heard this teaching, around the time we started the Foodbank project in 2011, it stuck with me. But it was one phrase that perhaps had the greatest impact: People do not have to be 100% for us to not be against us. A collaborative mind understands that but in life we often major on the 20% we don’t agree on and that prevents us moving forward. A growth environment will often put you into partnership with other people you may not have expected, but maybe that’s what being part of a community is about.

I want to encourage you in 2017 to think much more collaboratively than perhaps you’ve done to date. We all have a limited amount of time and resource and the idea isn’t to keep squeezing more out of our often-busy lives. You can achieve much more with God than you can with your own limited resources, but that often involves partnering with others.

This has been the foundation that we have built on at the Kings Lynn Foodbank, that we can achieve more together. When our focus is about the goal and not ourselves then we can reach more people.

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