His words struck me hard. They were spoken factually; they weren’t condescending or critical. Just factual, and the facts hurt.
“In the US, you are bound by time; in India we are bound by relationships.”
As Neil Propst blogged, here in the US we pursue the “river of comfort.” Technology enables us to work anytime, anyplace … and many of our companies expect this behavior.
We’re always “on the clock,” working relentlessly, all in the pursuit of comfort. We often work long hours in order to buy things that we don’t have time to enjoy.
Consequently, we don’t own our stuff; our stuff owns us. We are bound by comfort; we are bound by time. We are in bondage. It’s not that the clock is unimportant in India; flights and trains leave on time. That being said, their daily schedules are fluid and planned schedules change (as we learned daily this past week). Victor’s point is that in his culture people are bonded together. They are bound to one another. This is especially true in the church where persecution is very real and seldom removed from Christians’ awareness.
This brings to mind…
Ecclesiastes 4:9-10, 12, “Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor. If either of them falls down, one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up… Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.”
Being bound to one another in the Indian church yields a stronger and healthier body. This is contrasted with our culture where independence is highly valued, and sometimes being inter-dependent with others is considered a sign of weakness (so, too, is dependence upon God, but that’s a topic for another blog). We had so many interactions and observations this past week. For me, the difference in cultures we experienced reflects a difference in priorities. Will I place priority upon relationships, or will I be bound by schedule and tasks?
Personally, I need to be more intentional to make margin / make time / make priority for relationships.
WRITER: Chuck Rapp, India Trip Team Leader