"If you want to travel fast, travel alone. If you want to travel far, travel together." (African Proverb)
I have been reading Erwin McManus’ latest book, “The Last Arrow.” Like most of Erwin’s books, it is full of both passion and unique observations about life and faith. This morning, I was reading chapter 7 and Erwin’s word struck me as an excellent encapsulation of what I have been learning this last year. In part, here is what he writes:
When we read Scripture, most often we are focused on what it says about God. We have been trained to be acutely aware of what we are to believe about God and how we are to relate to him. Yet Scripture is so much more than that. It gives us such a keen insight into the human journey. From my vantage point, if we were to engage the Bible as a study in human sociology, the word that would emerge is tribe. The entire journey of Israel is about becoming a people. In fact, if the Scriptures are to be taken seriously, there is no journey toward God that does not bring us to each other.
You might begin the journey alone, but the place where God is taking you is a land called Together. If you have ever felt that you are living beneath your potential or that the greatness God has placed within you is yet to be realized, then I would tell you that the most common cause of living beneath our capacity is that we have chosen to walk alone rather than to walk together. You will never sustain greatness or fulfill your God-given calling if you see people as an obstacle to your destiny rather than as essential to fulfilling God’s purpose in your life. (p. 147-48)
I know that the cultural milieu right now is a deep cynicism for all institutions – especially religious ones. But these paragraphs reminded me of the primal need of each of us for each other. Our life together is not about forming institutional structures but about finding our tribe and our people in order to become what we were meant to be.