Tuesday, October 11, 2011

People Before ....... ?

When I was younger a saying that "changed my life" was "There are only two things in this world that are eternal.  The Word of God, and people."

That has led me for many years.  We can all get bogged down in work, in blogging, in hobbies, in keeping up the house.  My garden, for all the work I put into it, is now a mess.  I wanted to work in it today but it's raining hard (which is ok, we need rain).  I wish I had back the time I spent in hobbies.  I like to think this blog is a ministry, but sometimes it's just an exercise in vanity.  No, the two things that I'll be able to know mattered in eternity is how much I taught (myself and others) the Word, how much I lived it, and how much I touched other people's lives.

Not that the second part of that equation is easy for me.  I am incredibly task-oriented, and a little introverted.  I am very frugal about my discretionary time.  I have learned that I must schedule my people time, not to keep me from giving too much of it but to keep me from not giving enough.  I am the Martha of the bunch; I would rather my guests, or students, or committee members, have their needs met than be there partying with them, and unfortunately would rather be "accomplishing" something than sitting and listening to the Lord.

On top of that, as an academic, I, like my colleagues, like to think we are on a search for truth (we obviously suffer from delusions of grandeur), and that search may come before time with people.  And on top of that, as a fiction writer, I run the risk of people being fodder for characters in a future novel.  I do put my friends in my novels--I just hope they don't notice!  Finally, as a Christian, I wonder about those times when a person's feelings, or my relationship to them, collides with a principal of truth.  It happens.

So when I see signs that say "People above profits," I am sympathetic.  People should come before money.  However, for me, the question is "people before principles."  Where do we draw the line between relationship and rightness, and righteousness?  For some people, that is not even a question; for some of us, it is a main question.

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