Contemplation I loved Keith Ferrazzi’s first book, Never Eat Alone. I am in the process of reading his second,
entitled, Who’s Got Your Back? It’s a
book about how important “lifeline” relationships are to personal and
professional success. “Lifeline relationships” are relationships with people
who have a real interest in your success, and are willing to offer you their
input, resources, and loyalty as you go about the process of life. They are an
invaluable resource in providing insight, accountability, and a feeling of
security—they have your back.

This doesn’t mean that these lifeline friends are uncritically supportive of
whatever one does or says. In fact, they are there to point out bone-headed
moves, hopefully, even before they are made. They are free to do so because
they are trusted confidants, committed to helping you be successful. They mean
you no harm—only good. They help you by telling you tough truth, celebrating
victories, and encouraging you to take bold moves to be all God has created you
to be. In Who's Got Your Back? Ferrazzi offers some steps to help in forming such relationships.

God has blessed me with a number of these relationships over
the years. I cherish them beyond measure. When God has blessed me with “success,”
they’ve cheered, and helped me take next steps. When the chips have been down,
they’ve been there to help—while not letting me off the hook. At the same time,
I’ve never doubted their desire to see me succeed. At the same time I’ve been
the receiver of such a blessing, I hope I’ve been able to provide such a
relationship to others.

As I read the book, I realized that many of my lifeline
relationships have a few cobwebs on them—and the fault is entirely mine. I am worse
off for it. I miss the insights, redemptive critique, and encouragement those
relationships provide. In ministry, it’s often come from other ministers who
have seen something positive in me and have been willing to be generous with
their time and insight. They are those who are more gifted, have a deep walk with Christ, more wisdom,
possibly (but not necessarily) older. They have been there to help me take the
next step; to say, “Dude, what were you thinking?”, or to say, “Tim, I just
want to tell you did an exceptional job there.” They can say whatever they want
to, and I’ll listen, because I know they mean me no harm. I know they have my

Though some of the book needs Christianizing, on the whole, I
recommend the book as a helpful tool in personal growth. Relationships are a gift from God.They bring richness to life and ministry.

Step one is
to give, not receive
. Ferrazzi even quotes Jesus at this point. Give first.
This is most important. Offer lifeline relationship to others. Offer whatever
you have to give. Learn to have someone’s back before asking anyone to have
yours. Very interesting stuff.

Question to ponder: Do you have any lifeline relationships? If so, can you name them? And, if not, are there some steps you can take to initiate these relationships?