Updated: Oct 1
“Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness?” 2 Corinthians 6:14
Although God does not specifically say in His Word whether we should have a non-Christian partner in business, He does provide us many things to consider.
An important question to ask: is a business partnership a yoke, or is it not? As I researched and read commentaries, it was obvious there were some who believed a yoke refers to predominantly marriage and some who believed it referred to relationships outside of marriage (like a partnership). Two different interpretations and two different opinions.
So, what is the next step for you? Specifically defining what a yoke is to you may give you further insight into how to apply it to the question of considering a business partnership with a non-Christian. Take time to review the list below.
5 PARTS OF A YOKED PARTNERSHIP
A yoke is a specific relationship that is not easily broken due to its permanent characteristics. As two oxen may be yoked together physically, you will be yoked to another person via a legal contract. Do you have a concern?
A yoke means you are dependent on someone else. As two oxen are depending on each other to work together, you also need to depend on the other person to “pull their own weight”. If they do not, you will be doing their work as well as your own. Do you have a concern?
A yoke means your work will be defined by the work you are publicly demonstrating together. If you are in a partnership, you cannot help but be defined, or judged, by the partner you have chosen. Decisions made will affect your reputation as you are part of the partnership. Do you have a concern?
A yoke means you may sometimes be constrained in what you want to do. Two oxen need to agree to go in the same direction. What if you want to do something in business and your partner does not? What if they want to go in a certain direction and you do not? What will likely happen? You are not able to act independently in this situation if you have a partner. Do you have a concern?
A yoke means considering another person’s wants, needs and motivation for doing things (and not doing things). What if a business partner wants to do something that is contrary to your beliefs? This will be a source of conflict and stress. And this situation may eventually result in a “parting of the partnership” and all difficulties inherent in that situation. Do you have a concern?
Overall, a partnership is a relationship. Joint decisions need to be made, wise conversations need to be had, expenses and income need to be shared fairly, work responsibilities need to be planned and shared equally and much time needs to be spent together that should be enjoyable and productive.
As I look back on my partnership and the initial days of establishing it, I never imagined it would not last. We thankfully had an exit strategy, but it was stressful.
This week take time to wisely consider the above five questions. Meditate on each one and ask God for insight and understanding. I pray this will help you reflect on truly what partnership may mean. If you have answered “yes” to any of the above, then ask God for wisdom and speak to trusted friends for more direction on what the right thing is to do. If your answer to having a partner is “yes” then be sure to read next week’s memo on what to be looking for (and not) in a potential partner.
May God richly bless you as you consider your business idea and whether you should go into partnership with a non-Christian.
email@example.com Bonny, Christian Women at Work