there’ll come a time, we’ll see
I met a self-proclaimed entrepreneur who spoke with me for 43 minutes pitching a business model that excited him as greatly as it was empty. I listened as he scurried around mentioning the name of his affiliate company, as he was careful to use the words “multi-level” and “strategy” rather than “pyramid” and “scheme.” He clutched a Max Lucado book titled Fearless, spoke of his mentor who retired at the age of 34, and revealed his dreams of absolute freedom. Freedom to never awake to an alarm, to never work again, to spend every moment with his family, to financially support his father-in-law – to be $uccessful, as he spelled it out on nearby napkin.
I inquired of his past. He grew up with little money, struggling parents, and never attended college. He makes enough to pay the bills and support his family, but if he ever wants more, he needs to do something else. He stated that a job is the least practical way to make money, and his business is simply a means to achieve his dreams of living without strings. He was fervent in his beliefs, and certain he would make it out on top. His mentor did, after all.
Despite his sincerity, I disagreed with him. I challenged his dichotomizing notions of joy being found only outside of work, instead of being integrated within it. I wondered at what made him so different from my friends, who I’m confident would never cease this opportunity he appeared so enthralled with. A college education? A middle or upper-class upbringing? His church culture? Something as simple as having different goals in life? But where do we develop these goals? Is the socialization process strong enough to determine the choices we make with what’s presented before us? If my past had been similar to his, would I instead be writing about a new prospective entrepreneurship I was interested in pursuing?
Most of all, I wonder at God’s ability to permeate all of this. We often attribute God’s interaction with us as a means of healing immoral facets of life, or providing hope in the midst of painful circumstance. But what about the more subtle – yet immeasurably impactful – moments that imprint upon us in ways that deeply determine why and how we act as adults?
Finally, how does one discern God’s revelation as either a divine act of grace, or a thoughtfully articulated point that trumps a previous conception? Was it His grace that shifted my perception of heaven last year, or a professor’s ability to deconstruct my theology with sound, rational examples of Scripture and human experience? Or can grace and human reason operate simultaneously despite me knowing that a more conservative Christian university taught a different eschatology and left students believing it was equally God’s grace to reveal such truth.
This is where I get caught in such matters. I can’t reconcile divine revelation with human socialization. It’s too inconsistent.
And yet, I know the answer is far from either/or.