I was listening to a very wise friend of mine talk this week. He was asked why he made a certain business decision (that actually cost him a lot more, was far riskier, took a great deal of faith.)

He said, “the difference is, that I was challenged to collaborate with people, instead of just coexist with them.”

This is what it looked like.


He went on to explain that collaborating means actually bringing your whole self to the table. It’s bringing your giftings, your talents and your experience and intentionally co- laborating with somebody else. Co-existence, on the other hand, just means that you exist in your own little bubble, looking after your own little world. You exist next to somebody else, but you don’t necessarily interact with them on a meaningful level or work with them to get something accomplished.

Look at what is possible

As my husband and I were talking this through we were reminded of a time when the Holy Spirit had given us a similar invitation to collaborate.

We sat together and turned our attention to God and asked, “Lord, we want to write a book, how do we go about it?”

He highlighted the individual giftings and experience we have and also things that we love to do.

I love the English language. I love to put sentences together. I love to write and bring things alive through words.

I am also a great organizer. I like things to be in order and structured for success.

My husband is a fantastic storyteller. I can tell a story and people go “meh”, but Frans can tell the same story and people will actually gather to hear what he has to say. He has the gift of not only telling it in a compelling way but also weaving wisdom throughout.

We have both had a passion to write something for a long time, but our thinking around it was always that I would write non-fiction and he would write a novel. Jesus said to us, “it doesn’t have to be something by Lisa van den Berg or Frans van den Berg. Why not let it be something by Frans and Lisa van den Berg?”

So, in light of my friend’s revelation and Jesus’ direction, we set to work. We purposely celebrated what I bring to the table and what he brings and asked for guidance on how we could collaborate.

We looked at

  • This is what we’d like the reader to get at the end of the novel.
  • This is what we want you to hear.
  • This is what we want you to learn.
  • This is how the characters will develop.
  • Etc

This is where my gifting of structure really helped.

Then Frans just sat and told me the story. He started to speak and it all came alive. Characters and places and emotions and lessons flowed out of him and, as the story unfolded, I was able to construct the sentences in a way that was readable.

The two of us got more done in two hours of sitting with each other, collaborating, than we had ever been able to do apart. It was a beautiful example of hearing an invitation from Jesus, opening up our hearts and partnering with others, and flowing in our anointing.

Gifting + collaboration + Grace = amazing results!

The cost and the invitation

It costs more to live this way though.

You will need to intentionally decide to come out of your box and not have to have things go only your way. You will need to acknowledge and celebrate the giftings and thinking of other people. You will need to navigate emotions and feelings and apologize and forgive and take ‘time-out’s’.

It’s messy, but oh so rewarding!

So I extend to you an invitation to sit with God and ask Him how you can implement this in your workplace.

  • What could it look like to collaborate with others in your team or on a specific project?
  • What is possible when a culture of honoring the individual contribution, and how it adds to the whole, is fostered?
  • How can you partner with God to see the gold in both yourself and others?

Look at your work colleagues and say, “Jesus, how can I bring my gift to the table and add to their gift, and how can their gift add to mine?”

I guarantee that you’ll live a far richer life by collaborating with others than if you try to do it by just coexisting next to them.

“Wonderful Lord God, thank You for the way You have created each one of us. Thank You for the individual character traits and giftings that You’ve woven into every person on the planet. Thank you for the invitation to collaborate and give You glory by the collective fruit of our hands”

Please share your stories below. We love to hear what God is doing in your lives.

Lisa van den Berg hails from South Africa, via the UK, and has dedicated her over two-decade career to helping people achieve success. She has honed her skills in a variety of roles including systems implementation and management, coaching and mentoring, and customer care. She has worked for a wide range of firms from national IT consultancies to local not for profits, and across both business and church sectors.

Lisa is the Director of ‘Heaven in Business Online’ where she spends her time creating and sourcing transformative teaching and case studies on partnering with God at work, for the online Community. Lisa, and her husband Frans, live in Redding, CA.

For more practical stories of what life with Jesus can look like visit AWJToday.com

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