“If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.”African Proverb
In a microwave culture, fast is a virtue and patience is a weakness. I want to have an impact, and I want to have it now. But I’m learning that lasting impact, impact that reaches far into the future, requires patience. Don’t get me wrong. I’m not talking about a lazy patience; rather, I’m talking about a simmering patience, a patience that is willing to march forward steadily, patience that is willing to invest in relationship, even when it seems unproductive in the moment.
Christian ministry is based on a relationship of dependence, not independence. Jesus said, “Apart from me you can do nothing” (John 15:5).
At the very core of having a lasting impact is a deep and utter dependence on Jesus. Further, He has knit us together into a body of believers, each having an integral part in fulfilling His mission. He has made us to be dependent on Him, and interdependent on each other. Interdependence can only occur when we are patient to build trust through relationship.
I travelled to Paris last week and am now in Zimbabwe to meet with leaders from around the world who are on mission for Jesus. In Paris, we invested significant time into simply getting to know each other, to hear from one another what God is doing in our lives. We spent valuable time building relationships. At times, I confess that I was impatient. I was there to find collaborative partners, not answer questions about my life story. I wanted to discover how we might be able to drive our ministry in Canada forward, yet I found myself listening to others share about their families and favourite foods. Honestly, the thought crossed my mind…”Is it worth it? Would I, and our Canadian student ministry, be better off if I stayed at home and focused on the work I have to do there?”
Coming out of Paris, I have some new friends. I have also witnessed some significant work being done in partnership. Out of the Paris trip, we have new partners in developing our My Story strategy. We are beginning a new partnership with the most influential Christian, French-language website in the world. For the Canadian student ministry of Power to Change, more than 5 separate win-win partnership projects have been initiated because of the time invested in Paris.
Our purpose is to change the world by helping students discover Jesus. World-changing impact will never be realized apart from an interdependent community.
Without His love, I can’t love others.
Without loving others, I can’t be patient.
Without being patient, I won’t build relationships.
Without building relationships, I can’t have trust.
Without trust, we can’t work together on mission.
Without working together on mission, we’ll never change the world.
So, if we want to have a lasting impact, we need to go together. We need to patiently invest the time in relationship, to build trust so that we can have an impact together.
Where might you be rushing past a relationship that could help you have a broader impact? What patient, yet intentional, step could you take to build trust with a fellow believer on mission this week? Besides, going together is a lot more fun than going alone.