Do you have a prayer partner? …A workout or jogging partner? …Business partner?
Back in 1988, I had the occasion to meet Dr. Logan Hampton, who was elected president of Lane College in June of this year. We were both attending the CME Church’s General Conference in Atlanta. I was an avid fitness buff at the time. Based on Dr. Hampton’s lean appearance today, he probably still is.
Two guys, looking like pastors, ran into each other while in the health club at the hotel. Realizing we were likely in town for the same conference, we introduced ourselves. I mentioned that I alternate lifting weights one day and jogging the next. I told him I had jogged twice down to the University stadium and back. He said he’d like to jog with me, so we agreed to meet in the morning. I forewarned Dr. Hampton that the distance was just over three miles and I would need to slow to a walk a couple of times as I had done the days before. He said he would need to slow down too, as he knew he couldn’t jog that distance, either.
We met as planned, stretched a little, and struck out jogging. I don’t remember exactly when, but I am certain that several times I was thinking, “I thought he said he would need to stop.” I discovered as we arrived back at the hotel, he was thinking the very same thing. We both said in unison, “I thought you said you couldn’t make it all the way without stopping.” I have honestly thought about that day hundreds of times.
Neither of us thought we could make it, but neither of us wanted to be the one to slow the other down. It may have been the distraction of our fellowshipping while we jogged. Perhaps a more honest reflection would be I was too proud to let him know I needed to slow down. It matters not for my point, though. What matters is that both he and I went further than either of us thought we could go. …And farther than either of us would have gone had we been jogging alone.
The right partner will urge you beyond your imagined (self-imposed?) limitations. The right partner will prod you to keep up with them and push themselves so as to not slow you down.
Dr. Hampton and I have been in each others’ company many times over the last several years. As I had the opportunity to greet him shortly after his installation as the President of Lane, I whispered to him, “Run with someone who doesn’t know your limitations.”
That is a real partner.