In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now. (Phil. 1:4–5)

YOU ARE STANDING on some broad shoulders. There are many who have served the Lord with gladness well before you came around. Work has been done. Energy spent. Sacrifices made. Hours of struggle have been invested. Prayer has been offered. Faith has been leaned upon. Hope has been delivered. Words have been taught. Emotions have been shared. Lives have been lived. And it is all for you to build on in this moment of history.

Once in a while I meet people who claim to be self-made. To hear them tell it, no one has taught them. No one nurtured them. No one has shown them how to do or be anything. For a moment, one would think that the almighty God of the universe had died and left these people in charge.

Throw pain and suffering at someone who seemingly has the world in his or her hands and observe the confusion that often comes as a result. Doctors are blamed. Parents are blamed. Employers are blamed. Friends are blamed. Not so with the apostle Paul. Instead of becoming bitter while he suffered in a jail cell, his heart and pen overflowed with gratitude and prayer. Paul realized he was not alone. He had some partners in the gospel.

The Holy Spirit is our partner in life. There are others who are guided by the Spirit of Christ who go through life with us. Be thankful every time they come to mind.

Thank God for the spiritual partnerships He has provided.

Jim Dunn is the Executive Director of Church Multiplication and Discipleship