Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Reaping and Sowing

Just corresponded with my teacher in Facebook, and somehow when studies where mentioned, I remarked that students should cherish the day when they reap what they sow, i.e. get good results if they study hard enough.

Suddenly I had this thought: If later in the working world, what you put in is not equal to what you get out, they why should we be trained, or even start to learn to think this way? Why should we work hard to get good results, when in the end, there will always be people better than you in the end?

I read someone else's comment on Facebook. It's not fair, he said, that he should put in more and still get nothing much out of it. Another friend who read the comment said simply, 'Life is fair'.

Yes, it's easy for someone to say life is fair when they are on the bell curve, when they are smarter, faster, and maybe have the ability to work harder. What is fair? Is the bell curve fair? Singaporean students are pushed to work and excel in every area. They are kiasu and hardy, they learn how to be competitive and strive for the things they want. But in the end, not all will end up at the top. Someone will always have to lose out. Does the perspective of 'fair' change according to what end of the bell curve you are at?

Why do we learn to be good and diligent and work hard, when in real life, reaping and sowing are two different things? Why is a student taught to chase after his dreams at whatever cost, only to be disheartened and forced to give it up?

I find myself trying to answer these questions as I type.

I guess it's like a farmer would always have to sow and reap no matter how his crop turns out. It's his livelihood. He can't control the rain or sun, or how the crop turns out. It's just something he has to do no matter what. From young the child is taught to plough and plant so that when he grows up he can survive. And as the complexity of life and circumstances increase as he grows, he realizes that the crop turnouts may not be fine. He can't change that, but he can change himself. He can't change the nature of the field and his crops, but he can be innovative and find creative ways to solve problems. He can also always be joyous and depend on God to provide.

It's just like us in Engineering learning how to use simple models to solve real life problems. In reality, the things we are calculating are much more complex, and the models we use are a mere estimate, just like the concept 'you reap what you sow', and may not be applicable in all circumstnaces. But the little basic model, far-fetched and useless it may seem in the long run, would prove to be valuable for the learning and derivation of more complex solutions to a problem.

Life cannot always be fair. This world is struck and marred so much that it is imperfect. Disasters strike, circumstances turn one topsy turvy. The guy whom you are envious of because of what he has and what he can achieve may lose what is most precious to him the next day. People who slog hard to earn a position and their possessions lose it all in a blink of an eye, just like the day when the World Trade Center crashed down.

There are many unfair things in this world, so much that we're numbed to those that do not concern ourselves. So much that we see the only unfair things are us working for that academic cert which might not last until goodness knows when. But one thing I know that is unfair: Christ cruficified for my sake, and all I do is focus on small little things like this when I should be concerned over bigger things for Him.

Before the throne of God above
I have a strong and perfect plea
The great High Priest who's name is love
Who ever lives and pleads for me.

My name is graven on His hands
my name is written on His heart
I know that while in heav'n He stands
No tongue can bid me thence depart
No tongue can bid me thence depart

When Satan tempts me to despair
And tells me of the guilt within
Upward I look and see Him there
Who made an end to all my sin

Because of the sinless Savior died
My sinful soul is counted free
For God the Just is satisfied
To look on Him and pardon me
To look on Him and pardon me

Behold he lives the risen Lamb
My perfect spotless righteousness
The great unchangeable I Am
The King of glory and of grace

One with Himself I cannot die
My soul is purchased by His blood
My life is hid with Christ on high
With Christ my Savior and My God
With Christ my Savior and My God

Yes we hate all things unfair. But yet, I shudder to think in this case, what if things had been fair. No unfairness I go through in life, would be worthy of mention before this uneven exchange, my soul for His life.

p/s: I love this song! :) Thanks JonC for intro-ing it in Sunday worship!

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