Networking can create great excitement, and having lots of friends, colleagues, and connections offers many opportunities for fulfillment as we serve others and as others step up to help us in our needs and projects. Whether you have five friends or five thousand, the more the merrier.
On the other hand, one connection can sometimes outweigh a thousand. In the Bible, the “Song of Solomon” presents a paradigm case. Although some interpreters see this ancient love poetry as a description of one of King Solomon’s many marital loves, the best view understands that the story centers on two common subjects of the Kingdom–a couple deeply in love with each other. Interpreting the song in that way, the Good News Translation draws a striking contrast:
“Let the king have sixty queens, eighty concubines, young women without number!
But I love only one, and she is as lovely as a dove.” (Song of Songs 6:8, 9 GNT)
Before Solomon finished his conjugal adventures, he would have a thousand concubines in his harem, but he would never find what that one common man found–one woman to fill up his eyes, arms, and heart so completely that there could be no room left for any other. I will always thank God that I found such a woman, who fixes my heart so fully in both senses of the word “fix.”
In the sphere of love, one connection can offer more value than a thousand, but the principle goes further. In all of our relationships, the one should usually outweigh the thousand. A common rule of courtesy demands that the person in front of you should feel like they are the most important person in the world to you at that moment. Maintaining real presence in every context you inhabit, giving your whole attention, making each person feel truly important–these basic social manners suffer real threats in a world of mobile phones, instant and constant internet, and multimedia. The clock ticks on, and the next appointment beckons. But when the person you do business with at any time feels they have your total attention, it can create powerful collaboration on any task. Attention to the one means that two can change the world.
No sphere demonstrates this truth more than the duet of marriage and the circle of family life. Busy lives do present a challenge, and treating the one as more important than the thousand taxes our capacity at work as much as it does at home. I need to ratchet up my own attention to the Value of One and my commitment to presence. This very moment offers a great time to get on it.
Copyright©2013 by Joseph L. Castleberry. All rights reserved. http://www.josephcastleberry.com; firstname.lastname@example.org
Dr. Joseph Castleberry is President of Northwest University in Kirkland Washington. He is the author of The Kingdom Net: Learning to Network Like Jesus and Your Deepest Dream: Discovering God’s True Vision for Your Life . Follow him on Twitter at @DrCastleberry and at http://www.facebook.com/Joseph.Castleberry.