When exactly have we “made it”?

May grace (God’s unmerited favor) and spiritual peace [which means peace with God and harmony, unity, and undisturbedness] be yours from God our Father and from the Lord Jesus Christ.

May blessing (praise, laudation, and eulogy) be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ (the Messiah) Who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual (given by the Holy Spirit) blessing in the heavenly realm!

Even as [in His love] He chose us [actually picked us out for Himself as His own] in Christ before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy (consecrated and set apart for Him) and blameless in His sight, even above reproach, before Him in love.

Ephesians 1:2-4
– looks like we made it!

For me, catching up on news means accessing a variety of sources. I read publications and listen to reporting that leans moderate, conservative, progressive, faith-based, analytical, “nothing but the facts”, commentary, review, and everything in between.

A couple of my top-ten favorites are the UK based Guardian and Telegraph. They can be especially helpful when I am interested in a thoughtful look at how the rest of the world views the United States.

One recent Guardian article gave me pause. The piece was not so much looking at the USA as it was the “Western” world in general; and – in particular – how debt, property ownership, and the availability of generationally passed along resources is affecting the younger generations.

The article was titled “Why inheritance is the dirty secret of the middle classes.” One of the points the writer made was how young adults are almost embarrassed to admit that their parents helped them secure their education, or house, or apartment.

“I think people are coy about sharing the reality of any form of privilege, whether it’s racial or gender or financial. They think it diminishes them. After all, they haven’t made it on merit…”

Okay, all very interesting. There is a whole lot I could write in response to the statement. But it is the two words “made it” that interest me, along with the idea of “merit”. They are – I believe – worth thinking about in today’s post.

What does “made it” mean?

The writer seems to equate “making it” with home-ownership, good-paying jobs, social status, and financial freedom. Then the idea is qualified with the followup, making it “on merit.”

First, the world at its best is never a meritocracy. We are a community. We were designed to live in community. Everything we are and all we aspire to is supported, encouraged, anchored in, undergirded, propped up, buoyed, fleshed out, subsidized, and carried along by other people; by parents, grandparents, spouses, in-laws, friends, networks, mentors, patrons, institutions, interested parties.

We are, we have been, and we will be invested in. The tragedy is when we are not. Community does not diminish us, it builds up. The only thing that should embarrass any one of us is not that we were/are invested in, but if we are not – in turn – investing in others.

But I digress. I really meant to talk about what it means to make it.

I believe the simple answer lies in how we respond to the following three questions: Do we know “who” we are? Do we know “why” we are? And do we know “where” we are going?

  • The who has do do with identity.
  • The why has to do with purpose.
  • The where has to do with trajectory.

None of these has anything to do with home ownership or the contents of a 401K.

Rebekah and I had already made it when we lived in a two-room “apartment” without air-conditioning and – on several occasions – arrived home to find bags of food hanging from our door handle.

– Derek Maul writes about the great privilege of living from his home – and community – in North Carolina

Just one more comment. We are both intelligent, creative and hard working; we were both not just good at our jobs but cutting-edge. However, according to my understanding of success, we did not “make it” on merit; we made it (identity, purpose, trajectory) by grace.

Grace is an unmerited free gift, but it is ours only if we accept it.

This is the meaning of Christmas – DEREK

3 comments

  1. Like I have always said. Proof of God’s grace is how much I have the I did not “earn on my own” or “deserve”. My beautiful life, wife and family are not things I “earned”, they are clear examples of God’s grace in my life!
    Eric

    Liked by 1 person

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