No man is an island. Good alliances in life can be a source of empowerment and resources for advancement. But bad alliances can be a destructive source of great pain. There are many things that can make for bad “partnerships,” and I use the term loosely to mean top staff, high-level employees, and business partners.
Partners with vastly different values and visions, partners with bad morals and bad marriages, and partners whose work ethic are at odds with yours make for long, drought-stricken campaigns. Even partners whose personalities are irritating, despite their helpfulness or even spirituality, can dry up the water in a valley faster than you think.
I always advise engaged or nearly engaged couples to think on these same things. Look past his curly hair; that will fall out one day. Look past her cute little figure. Four babies in eight years can cause that to disappear like flowers in a magic show.
Look past those things and see that mildly bothersome, tiny little habit that just barely makes you wince to notice it on a date today. In a dry and barren valley, years from now, when the curly hair and cute figure are gone with the wind, that habit, that irritating, monstrous huge habit will remain, looming like Mount St. Helens ready to erupt and blow the top of off the whole thing. Take the partner, take the habit too. Both may be in your life for a long time.
The worst kind of partnership, of course, is one that is mismatched spiritually. Righteous Jehoshaphat had no business marching off to battle with wicked Jehoram. There is a balance, to be sure. This does not mean believers dare not ever hire, do business with, or work for unbelievers. I know a man who desperately needed to buy a warehouse, but when a liquor company offered to sell him one, he balked. He asked me if he should buy it.
“Should is the wrong word,” I told him. “All I can say is that there is no sin in purchasing real estate from the sinful unless you cheat someone else or use it sinfully yourself.”
“Yes,” he objected. “But what about using my money to prosper them?”
“Look,” I explained. “We live in a complicated world. You buy groceries at stores that sell liquor. You fly on airplanes that give it away in first class and you stay in hotels that have bars. In the world is not the same thing as of it.”
On the other hand, a deep, lose bond in business or a relationship with an unsaved partner is rife with danger. The biblical admonition not to be “unequally yoked together with unbelievers” (2 Cor 6:14) is disregarded at great risk. Be slow to link your destiny in the desert with another destiny uncommitted to the same God you serve.
Think hard and pray before you sign on the dotted line, say “I do,” or take on a partner. Will the ungodly be preserved because of you, or will you be destroyed or just be miserable because of them?
GOD OF THE VALLEYS
by Dr. Mark Rutland