There is this African Proverb that says “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together”. If you look at the second statement in this proverb on face value and apply it in life, you might find yourself in troubled waters. One statement is talking about speed and the other is talking about distance. Time factor also has a role to play in this proverb because speed is measured against time and so is distance. The existence of the word “together” in the second statement means one has to go with people. The word far in the second statement makes its veracity debatable. “Far” according to the Merriam- Webster dictionary means to a great distance in space or time, to a great extent or to/at a particular distance, point, or degree.
Energy is needed to cover a distance and greater energy is needed to cover a great distance.
We all know in athletics; the longest distance race is Marathon with an official distance of 42.195 kilometers (26.219 miles or 26 miles 385 yards). It takes a lot of energy to cover this distance and not every athlete is able to complete the long distance.
In relating this principle to the proverb, any inquisitive person would ask, can one go far if he/she goes together with less energized people?
I’ve observed that anytime one decides to accomplish a purpose or mission in life the population of people close to him/her drastically decreases.
How would you feel if people you’ve bonded and shared great moments with for so long suddenly disappear from your life just because you chose to stand for something? Your answer is as good as mine.I’ve come to understand that, such is how life has been wired and I’d tell you one interesting story to buttress my point.
Once upon a time, the children of Israel did evil in the sight of God and He delivered them into the hand of Midian for seven years. The Midianites prevailed over Israel and made them impoverished. As a result, they cried out to God and He heard their cry and responded. So one day, God told Gideon he’d be used to save the Israelites from the hand of the Midianites.
When it was time for Gideon to accomplish what was purposed for him, God said something interesting. He said, “You have too many men. I cannot deliver Midian into their hands or Israel would boast against me, ‘My own strength has saved me’. Now announce to the army, “Anyone who trembles with fear may turn back and leave Mount Gilead”. So twenty-two thousand men left, while ten thousand remained. But the Lord said to Gideon “There are still too many men. Take them down to the water, and I will thin them out for you there. I say. “This one shall go with you, he shall go; but if I say “This one shall not go with you, he shall not go.” So Gideon took the men down to the water. There the LORD told him, “Separate those who lap the water with their tongues as a dog laps from those who kneel down to drink. Three hundred of them drank from cupped hands, lapping like dogs. All the rest got down on their knees to drink. The Lord said to Gideon, “With the three hundred men that lapped I will save you and give the Midianites into your hands. Let all the others go home”. So Gideon sent the rest of the Israelites home but kept the three hundred who took over the provisions and trumpets of the others”.
Before this encounter, Gideon was helpless just like the other Israelites because of their predicament. Then an Angel appeared to him saying “The Lord is with thee, thou mighty man of valor”. Any normal person would have insulted the Angel because it is ironic for a mighty man of valor to be in an oppressed environment and look helpless. God being God wasn’t looking at the situation confronting Gideon but his potential. No wonder after Gideon complained and questioned God’s presence with them in the midst of their oppression for seven good years, God told him “Go in this thy might, and thou shall save Israel from the hand of the Midianites; have not I sent thee”?
How ironic that, the one complaining about a bad situation is the solution to the situation. God had to make Gideon aware of his worth because it was tied to his purpose. Under normal circumstances, the only way one could be free from oppression is to fight back and claim one’s freedom. I believe Gideon thinking as a rationale being thought since their liberation entailed fighting, he gathered a large army of men, ready for battle. Unknown to him, he was in for a suicide mission. The men he was taking along were not a reflection of his identity hence making them unfit for the mission. He was oblivious to the fact that when one’s status changes, one’s level of thinking and one’s association has to correspond.
The Angel of the Lord referred to Gideon as a mighty man of valor but the people he was going to battle with were a contradiction to what he represented. A whopping twenty thousand men were full of fear without his knowledge. Imagine what would have happened if they were sent to battle. God being the all-knowing God had to salvage the situation because, it wasn’t only about Gideon but the liberation of a people was dependent on that.
After testing the ability of the remaining men in terms of improvising, God found only three hundred men out of a whopping 32,300 worthy to be with Gideon to accomplish his mission.
I believe Gideon was surprised initially when God drew his attention to the people around him. I believe he was sad when he had to let go of them because these were people he had bonded with for so long. I also believe his decision to let majority of the men go, drew bad blood between them because they might have been disappointed in being alienated.
Most of us think Just like Gideon thought initially when it comes to accomplishing our purpose in life. We fail to realize that, immediately our vision changes, everything around us has to change including people. We rather want a lot of people around us to buy into the vision and be a part of its success story. We focus on the number of people on our side rather than their quality.
The end game of one’s purpose in life is for the gratification of others. The destinies of a lot of people are tied to our purpose. As a result of our failure to notice this, hence our focus on making it a family or friendship affair, God sometimes has to take us through trials to ward off the weaklings around us. No wonder we lose some loved ones on our journey towards accomplishing a mission.
If you’re on a journey towards accomplishing your purpose in life and the people close to you start falling off, do not fret or get disappointed. It’s possible they are inimical to the accomplishment of your purpose thus being pruned. Keep calm and focus on your goal. You’d surely meet the right people to help you attain your goal. Always remember, it’s not about the number of people on your side but the quality of people on your side.