“Coming together is a beginning. Keeping together is progress. Working together is a success.” Henry Ford

One of my fondest memories in college was getting together for game nights. They were always sooo much fun. Do you enjoy playing games? If so, what kind? I love playing all types of games-card games, board games, word games, mind games, money games, you name it, if it’s fun, I am willing to play. My favorites games are Backgammon, Bid whist, Scrabble, Words with Friend, Pokeno, and Dominoes. Even though some games, like solitaire and crossword games, can be played alone or cutthroat, most games require at least two players. In these games, in order to win, you’ll need the help of someone else, you need a team-a PARTNER. But, there are a few PARTNER games, like spades, and dominoes, that can be played with a PARTNER or cutthroat. As I pondered playing these games, I discovered the similarities of being a PARTNER in a game and a PARTNER in a relationSHIP and realized that not everyone knows how to play with a PARTNER. Personally, I prefer to play games with a PARTNER. What’s your preference? Are you a cutthroat player? OR Do you make a good PARTNER? Let’s find out!!! For this week’s blog, let’s talk SHIP about being a good PARTNER!!!

By definition, cutthroat is when a player plays a game independently rather than having a PARTNER. Whereas, a PARTNER is a pair of people engaged together in the same activity working to achieve a common goal. The truth is none of us can reach our goals without the assistance of others. Sure, we’ll experience a few victories playing a cutthroat game but we won’t achieve long-term success because NO one reaches success without the help of others. No one!!! Even the world’s top singers and athletes have a team of people- a fitness or vocal trainer, a coach, a nutritionist, a spiritual leader– who help them achieve their greatness. They understand that they need PARTNERS to support their goals and we are no different. We need each other to grow, to thrive, to develop. We need each other to win!!! However, we have to decide if we’ll play the game with a PARTNER or cutthroat. If one chooses to play a cutthroat game, they probably won’t develop the skills necessary to become an effective PARTNER in the game and in their relationSHIPS.

One of the biggest problems in relationSHIPS is that we get into them with people who only know how to play cutthroat. Are you in a relationSHIPS with a cutthroat player? Does your mate play out of turn? Do they cheat in the game? Do they talk across the board? Do they back your play?  or Do they try to overplay you? Do they blame you for the loss? If they do, you are in a cutthroat relationSHIP. And it’s virtually impossible to play a cutthroat game with a PARTNER or be in a relationSHIP with a cutthroat player and expect to win. It can’t happen. It won’t happen. RelationSHIPS can’t progress or move forward until both players learn how to play as PARTNERS

Being a PARTNER means making the commitment to work with someone else toward a common goal. PARTNERS believe in us and share our dreams. PARTNERS help us develop strategies and ensure we stick with them.  PARTNERS tell us the truth even when it’s painful to hear. PARTNERS are there when things go right and when things go wrong.  PARTNERS highlight our strengths and support us through our weaknesses. PARTNERS help us to accomplish more because they understand that it takes two to make a thing go right. PARTNERS encourage us to keep going when we stumble and pick us up when we fall. PARTNERS shield and defend us from outside criticisms.  PARTNERS motivate us and make us believe we can achieve anything. PARTNERS withstand life’s adversities and face the world with us. PARTNERS understand that they are in it to win it!!!

With such an important role, selecting a PARTNER is crucial. But how should we choose a PARTNER? Wisely for sure……. We should choose PARTNERS who are invested in our dreams, and in our lives. We should choose PARTNERS who love GOD. We should choose PARTNERS who are committed to helping us grow. We should choose PARTNERS that keep us humble. We should choose PARTNERS that enhance and promote our integrity. We should choose PARTNERS that help us become more giving. We should choose PARTNERS who ensure that we do the right thing. We should choose PARTNERS that make us better. We should choose PARTNERS that focus on GOD when facing criticism. We should choose PARTNERS that are willing to pray with and for us. We should choose a PARTNER who trusts GOD and seeks HIS guidance.

Let’s face it, the game of life is already difficult, so why play it with or as a cutthroat player? Cutthroat players don’t make good PARTNERS in a game or in a relationSHIP, they can’t. Get on a winning team. Choose a PARTNER that believes in teamwork. One that knows how to be PARTNER. One that loves and believes in you and has a STRONG PARTNERSHIP with GOD because that choice will always produce a WINNING HAND!!!

This blog was inspired by Pastor Dr. Lamonte KIng of Friendly Friendship Baptist Church 5 part sermon series entitled “It’s time to Dream.” This is the last sermon for this series entitled “Teams.”

SHIP TALK: Are you a good PARTNER? or Do you play cutthroat? Have you been in a cutthroat relationSHIP?

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