"The solitary traveler may get to the end of the journey faster, and indeed he may gain riches along the way as he leaves the weak and the slow behind him and is not required to share what he finds. However, he will also know pits out which he must dig himself, unrelentingly cold nights, and lonely battles. He will in the end see no profits from it all, for the gain we make from our toil is found in the toil itself, completed in the context of our whole lives lived out before God and in the company of others to whom we are intrinsically and healthily connected as creatures of God. In community our lives are strong and enduring,, like the rope "of three strands." The fool's individualistic life is, by contrast, weak and destined to be broken." -Iain Provan
We need people. We have been designed for community and our lives are "meaningless" without it. Ecclesiastes clearly presents the contrast of the wise man and the foolish man (as does proverbs). Guess what, the wise man is the one who, while working as he should, does not strive continually after gain that is always just beyond his grasp. He knows the balance that must be found in life between sloth and toil. Our constant striving for more is not only a slap in the face of the God who gave us more than we need, but it is a recipe for certain disaster in the end. It is impossible to strive after gain for your entire life without trampling over the people around you. Families are broken, friendships are destroyed, and the individuals life, in the end, accounts for nothing. So you have great wealth, do you have someone with whom to enjoy what your work has brought you? So you have more than your neighbor, is your family bruised and bleeding along side the road of your life? In the end the same fate befits us all. Our wealth, possessions, and awards will not follow us into eternity. Life on this earth is but a breath and it is a wasted breath if it is not lived out under the joy of God; under the freeing, unstoppable view of his sovereignty. God is in control and no matter how hard we try we cannot change or stop what He has set in motion. What a comforting thought! Having wealth or not is not the important part here. The important part is how your life is lived. Is it lived in relationship or is it lived in constant discontentment and striving? So you may have wealth, is it worth forfeiting your soul?
This idea is hanging heavy over me. At the end of my career at Biola what will be said of me? Will I have fantastic grades, remember every detail about the Bible, know the Greek backwards and forwards (ha!) and be able to lord my knowledge over all of the "common people" (i.e. non-bible majors- please know that I am simply showing how rediculous the level of arrogance that is all to often associated with those in this department is, and that I don't think that!)? Or will I be known as a woman who sought the Lord with all her heart, a woman who loved as Jesus loved, a woman who spent these four years in relationship with the people that God has placed in her life, a woman who lived out the Gospel in relationship with others, even if it means not graduating with honors. Will I be part of a community that keeps each other warm on cold nights, fights each others battles, and helps dig each other out of the pits that life throws us in? By God's grace, yes.
I apologize if this comes off a little on the guilt-laden side, it really isn't meant to! Those who know me well, know that I am very passionate (to a fault sometimes), and usually end up having to apologize for what I say. I hope this isn't one of those cases :-)