Ps 23:1-3a, 3b-4, 5, 6
Phil 4:12-14, 19-20
Mt 22:1-4 or 22:1-10
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by Corday Goddard, Assistant Dean of Student Development
I had one of those “college conversations” with my best friend several years ago, one of those conversations where the weightiest of questions pop up out of nowhere, usually in a setting not really appropriate for such heavy dialogue. For us, we were having lunch one summer day in the union, as we had done most days that summer, and for some reason the conversation compelled me to ask metaphorically “Do you think it would be better to be a big fish in a little pond, or a little fish in a big pond?” My friend – an outstanding business student then, and an exceptionally successful businessman today – did not hesitate in responding that he would do whatever it took to swim in the big pond, because in that pond, regardless of his position, he would be surrounded by greatness, in every meaning of the word.
At the time, I actually was not able to answer the question for myself, and in fact it haunts me to this day. In the years between that conversation and today, I have learned a great deal, have thought about this a lot (too much, likely), and find myself drawn back to the question on a regular basis . . . almost every Sunday, in fact.
Those weekly sermons and today’s readings provide some insight, and seem to make a compelling, and correct, argument: there are riches, and there is richness, and we’re promised the richness of a fully lived life, if we’ll just accept the invitation. The riches actually pale in comparison to all we are promised. And I believe in my heart that is the proper way to ponder my “fish” question from 20 years ago.
Having said that, I also know, intellectually, that broccoli is good for me and donuts are bad for me; that driving the speed limit is the safest (and most legal) way to drive; and that there are many, many more productive things I could do with my time than watch professional football several hours each week. But knowing and doing are two different things, right?
So for today’s reflection, I leave you with many questions, and no answers at all. In your own life, today, are the activities of your day means or are they ends? If they are all means , what are the ends? If they are ends, are they the ends that fill you up, or that run you down? If you are in pursuit of something, what exactly is it, and how will you know when you get it? And finally, is success for you ultimately about the size of the pond . . . or something far greater than that?