Weekly Thought – January 30, 2024
Fred focused on the process of maturity. He believed in the consistent devotion to the fullness of character. A casual, passive lifestyle held absolutely no appeal for Fred. Taking his gifts and developing them was of prime importance.
Life Is Not A Grapefruit
While speaking in Cincinnati a visitor to the hotel walked by the auditorium, heard me, and took a seat in the back of the room. The next day he called and asked to meet for lunch. I discovered he held a PhD in chemistry, followed Gandhi devotedly, and lived in India. After hearing about his time in our country I asked, “What have you observed about Americans?”
“Well,” he said, “you Americans are segmented. A large part of your life is devoted to making money. You have one for family, another for social interaction, and yet another for religion. But they are not tied together with any philosophical thread. Each of them stands alone, almost as if you are a different person in each of these roles.”
I asked him to tell me about Dr. Gandhi. “Dr. Gandhi had all the areas of interest I mentioned, too, but in his life each was an expression of his religion.”
I realized the chemist had made a profound observation about American life. I also realized his comment about Gandhi was one of the greatest compliments I had ever heard paid to another. The focused, unsegmented life is a rarity today.
Even the church, at least in our culture, sometimes has a tendency to segment persons. We take the section labeled “spiritual”, dressing it up differently from the rest. The Sunday culture can differ greatly from the everyday – different people, vocabulary, and activities… all with little in common with the other six days. Few people think of their work as an expression of their faith. Few think of time with family as spiritual, or social occasions as religious experiences.
After speaking at a seminary chapel service I met with a faculty group. The very first question was: “How long have you been bi-vocational?” “What do you mean? I asked. Their answer: “How long have you been in ministry and in business?”
“I am not bi-vocational. That term means one interest is above the other or that I stop doing one temporarily while I am doing the other. That is not so; I carry them simultaneously. Hopefully I am a whole person – a Christian. Both my speaking, my consulting, and my board activities are expressions of that wholeness.” I could tell that these experienced theologians still accepted the segmented concept of the Christian life.
This week carefully consider: 1) How often do I find myself segmenting my life? 2) What work can I do to integrate each area? 3) Who models wholeness for me?
Words of Wisdom: “The focused, unsegmented life is a rarity today.”
Wisdom from the Word: “Whatever you are doing, work at it with enthusiasm, as to the Lord and not for people.” (Colossians 3:23 NET Bible)