Saturday, December 22, 2007

Whatever You Do...

I always get the feeling that what I'm doing is meaningless, echoing the words of Ecclesiastes.

And its true. No matter what I do, it can be very well meaningless.

The only thing that keeps me going is that Ecclesiastes 9:10 "Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might, for in the grave, where you are going, there is neither working nor planning nor knowledge nor wisdom." and Col 3:23-24 paraphrases it and adds"Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men."

The other thing is that the greater purpose in it may be hidden from us until maybe decades later. Just think of what Joshua did in prison, unjustly jailed in a foreign country, with no one knowing of his existence. Yet he made do with whatever his hands found to do, being the best servant in Potiphar's household and again in the prisons of Egypt.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

There Is No "The One"

The myth of someone, somewhere out there who is "the one" for you should be debunked.

If you were to go back to the old testament and start looking for "the one" you will be greeted with mystified looks. In the olden times, people never thought of finding "the one" only "a good one". Why can I say that? Because in those times can be many "good ones" and a man was allowed to married all of them!

Abraham had 3 (Sarah, Hagar (or rather childbearer), and Keturah)
Jacob had 2 (Leah and Rachel)
King David had 8
And lets not get into the numbers that King Solomon had!

If we were to walk up to them, and ask them for advice for finding "the one" they would be perplexed.

Some people think if they pray hard enough or sincerely enough, then a spouse will somehow drop out of heaven. We think of how Eliezer prayed for a wife for Isaac, and one fitting the criteria specified by him just walked by. But if we want to look at it in the full context, it was the servant who did the finding. So shall we ask our maids and butlers to find a wife for us and then trust in their choice? We must remember that the case of Isaac and Rebekah is an arranged marriage.

Another thing is that in Genesis 24:5,8 Abraham and Eliezer discuss on rejection. They take it for a fact that the other person may choose to reject. Sometimes I hear of a guy/girl who says to the other person "God told me that you would be the one. So therefore you can't refuse me." Now it may be true that it truly is God's will. But then again, it is God's will for us not to sin, yet many people do it anyway.

In the end, I think, everyone is given freewill and a choice. Beyond this one instance of divine intervention people in the Bible got married in many different ways, even through a sinful experience like adultery (David and Bathsheba).

I have a few colleagues from India, and the way they approach marriage is in a non-chalant way. Arranged marriage is quite the norm to them. They trust their parents to make the choice for them. They may talk on the phone a few times, go back to India and get married after not meeting them for more than a few times.

The idea of "the one" is a product of fairy tales. That a prince charming will come and rescue the damsel in distress. It is hardly Biblical.

The myth of "the one" causes second guessing, thoughts like "maybe I made the wrong choice. maybe I heard from God wrong. etc.."

The only other instance of an explicit divine command of marrying someone specific is Hosea who was told to marry a prostitute. And even when it was divinely ordered, it brought plenty of pain to him. Did Hosea think "maybe I heard from God wrong? perhaps it was my imagination?"

Perhaps the lesson to learn from this is that if you do have problems in your marriage whom you believe was divinely inspired is that you have to stick with it!

I think the problem with the easy route of divorce is that we cannot accept reality of marriage. That we are marrying another human with all his/her strengths, weaknesses, habits, foibles and follys. We fall into the trap of wishing for a Prince Charming, or Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty.

Note: Please do not think at any point that I am making a case for polygamy, only one against a dangerous myth of "THE ONE". I believe in a "good one" not a "good two or three or four". Remember: Jesus said "No man can serve two masters." :-)