Honor Your Community and Your Community Will Honor You!
Two guys are talking about their boss’s upcoming wedding. One says, “It’s ridiculous! He’s rich, but he’s 93 years old, and she is just 26! What kind of wedding is that? The other says, “Well, we have a name for it in my family.” “What do you call it?” “We call it a football wedding.” The first guy asks, “What is a football wedding?” The other says, “She’s waiting for him to kick off!”
Assuming those two men are correct, that woman is using the boss as a means to her own end. She is subtracting rather than adding. She is taking away value rather than adding value. Conceptually speaking, she is the tick and he is the dog. If that man lives long enough, she might end up with two ticks and no dog!
(I couldn’t resist that!)
I like to use the concept of ‘plundering’ and ‘populating’ in explaining this phenomena. The Spanish Conquistadors came to Latin America for two reasons, self adulation and to plunder the gold and treasures of the land. They were not interested in populating the land. They were interested in plundering the land. Their mindset was conquest rather than contribution. There mindset was domination, not liberation. Like the 26 year old woman in the story above, Spain, in those times, used Latin America as a means to it’s own end. That’s a lose/lose for both Spain and Latin America.
Now, I’m not being critical of Spain…..I love Spain. Almost all of the countries at that time did the same thing. That is just what one did in those days. However, let’s make sure we don’t unknowingly do the exact same thing to Glendale, Peoria, London, Singapore or wherever!
Whether we are in business, education, media, church, arts, sports or even government, please understand that we are here to ‘populate’ the community rather than ‘plunder’ the community. We are here for the ‘community, the community is not here for us. As a general rule, if we build our community, our community will build us as long as we have sufficient integrity and a reasonable skill set.
How do we build our community?
Well, let’s look at the Ancient Scriptures, the Word of God, and see if we can get some wisdom for today. In Jeremiah 29:7, Jeremiah says the following to God’s people living in the far away city of Babylon.
“And seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you in exile (to be a part of), and pray to the Lord on its behalf; for in it’s welfare, you will have welfare. The word for welfare in the Hebrew is shalom. Shalom means completeness, wholeness, health, welfare, soundness, prosperity, tranquility, fullness, perfectness, rest, and harmony. It’s where you say farewell to welfare!
Wisdom from this scripture says three things.
First of all, pray for your community.
Why? Because when our country or community does well, your finances, business, career will do well. The success, or lack thereof, in our careers and lives could be a reflection of how our country or community is doing. Let me illustrate. An American history teacher, lecturing the class on the Puritans, asked, “What sort of people were punished in the stocks?” A small voice from the back of the room responded, “The small investor.” See what I mean?
Secondly, let’s work together to build our community.
Be as committed to finding a remedy as finding fault. People who complain and blame are usually on the plundering side of life. If you don’t like your community, change it! How? From the inside out, not from the outside in. Be a participant rather than a critic. That’s what Jesus did. He offered real solutions rather than complaints about the obvious. The community can be better because of you!
Finally, give back to your community.
How? With you time, your treasure and your talents. For example, if as a business owner, you make a profit from the community, be sure to give some of it back to the community. Don’t plunder the community, populate the community! The idea is contribution, not conquest.
Someone once said, “True heroism is not the urge to surpass all others at whatever cost. It’s the urge to serve others and whatever the cost.” Shalom!