I work and spend most of my day in the City of London. London is, like most major cities of the world, a collage of villages towns that overtime have come under the jurisdiction of the Greater London Authority. The GLA has a full system of government; however so do many of the villages. One of the more prominent local, local areas is the original City of London, a square mile of banks, investment houses, fund managers, small business, and people seeking to “make it” through money, power, and prestige.
The area is concentrated and focused. The ambition is out on display, not in a gaudy way, but blatant, confident, and arrogant just the same. People and business’ driven by financial returns and inherently greed.
As I talk and mingle with people struggling through the day to day slog I find that those who have arrived wonder what they have and those on the way up are already wondering if it is worth the price. It is clear that the effort required to succeed often comes at the expense of relationships, trust, and commitment to holistic values and ideals. It is as if they never knew the cost before starting out on their journeys and now they understand they cannot find a way to get off.
Why didn’t someone tell them? Didn’t they know that “a sterling reputation is better than striking it rich; a gracious spirit is better than money in the bank”? (Proverbs 22.1) Perhaps someone said the words but at the time they seemed to be unbelievable!
Ironically as I look at the very people who should know this, my self included, I see our behavior denying the facts. We talk about the priceless value of a reputation and gracious spirit as we laugh and enjoy someone stabbing another in the back. Sadly, every action we take reinforces the primacy of making money and climbing the ladder!
There is an alternative. It is one where mercy, grace, and equality wins over all else. That is my choice today and my ideal for tomorrow.