Thursday, August 25, 2011

No One Can Make It Alone

You’ve probably heard the story about the turtle atop the fence post. It’s simple: He didn’t make it there alone.

That illustration underscores an everyday truism – to succeed in whatever you’re trying to achieve, you can’t make it alone. Our country was built on the shoulders of people that exhibited rugged individualism, along with the so-called “can-do spirit.” But even the most accomplished needed help.

Steven Jobs has announced he’s stepping down as CEO of Apple, Inc., due to declining health. Under Jobs’ leadership Apple became one of the world’s most powerful corporations. But he didn’t do it all by himself, and Apple’s likely to continue its successful course because of the contributions of many talented people.

Our lives are living proof that you can’t make it alone. Inspired and encouraged by teachers and college professors, I decided to turn my favorite hobby – writing – into a career. And what small success I’ve had as a journalist over the past four decades is due in part to people that hired me, bosses who mentored me, and others who assisted me in various ways.

I couldn’t begin to list all the people who have participated in my spiritual journey, teaching me in the good times and offering comfort and support during the tough times.

The idea of not being able to make it alone saturates the Scriptures. One of my favorite passages, Ecclesiastes 4:9-12, declares, “Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their work. If one falls down, his friend can help him up…. Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.”

Jesus, being the Son of God, certainly didn’t need help to accomplish His mission. Yet He surrounded Himself with eager, often faltering followers. When His time on earth ended, He entrusted the mission to them.

Because we need one another’s support, I’ve diligently invested in other men through mentoring over the years. The regular interchange experienced in a mentoring relationship is unparalleled. It’s mutually beneficial; you never know what you’ll learn from week to week, but you always learn something.

Proverbs 27:17 states, “As iron sharpens iron, one man sharpens another.” Through the years, God has used dozens of men to sharpen me; hopefully I’ve done the same for others.

At a time when the turbulent stock market puts any financial investment at risk, coming alongside another person wrestling with life’s complex issues is one investment that offers guaranteed dividends. We can’t do it alone, but what a privilege to contribute to someone else’s success!

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