It isn’t all about you is it? It isn’t all about me either. It is about us and our need to work together in this thing called life.
I remember my mother telling me this story about her father several years ago and there is a life lesson in it.
My Grandpa, Maurice Hanson was an honest man.
Everyone knew that if he shook your hand on a deal it was as good as a written contract.
This worked well for a con artist named Baleau who became a partner in business with him in the 1940’s.
Being in the hog business, Grandpa and Mr. Baleau sold hogs to Cudahay, Swift and Armour meat companies and this was making them both a decent living.
That is until, Mr. Baleau decided to clean out the account, leave Kansas and spend all of the money in Texas.
Sadly, that fateful decision was only working well for one of them.
Fortunately for Grandpa, his local bank trusted him and extended him a line of credit, he started “Hanson Hog Company” and the family dug in, cut back and somehow, by God’s grace, they pulled through as a team working together.
Who knows what kind of a business Grandpa and Mr. Baleau could have built had they worked together and continued on over the years?
I have to wonder whether it really paid off for Mr. Balleau to serve his own self interests and bail on his partner. What happened when the money ran out for him? Did he have character that would prompt a bank to lend him money or a friend to bail him out?
Given his track record, I would think not.
This self serving attitude doesn’t work in a business partnership nor in any other arena that requires more than one person in the equation.
It doesn’t work on an athletic team, it doesn’t work in a church, it doesn’t work in a marriage.
What of a basketball team where one teammate hogs the ball, leaving the others standing by to watch him spiral and spin, dribbling down the court and making all the plays without ever a pass or a set up?
An athlete signs a contract to play with a team not as a solo performance.
As well, a church is made up of a body of believers, all using their gifts, working together in unity to serve Christ. Anytime it becomes focused on an individual or special groups, there is a breakdown in the purpose it was designed for.
Then again when two people exchange marriage vows, we observe that it is a covenant of agreement between God and two people, to work together as one with each of them uniquely wired with their individual gifts, callings and roles but building something much bigger than just themselves.
Before God, they pledge faithfulness, devotion and self sacrifice to serve one another in love. They leave, cleave and start a family with the sole purpose of doing life together and leaving the solo behind.
In any of these situations, if someone begins to look out only for their own interests by not keeping their word, their vows or the contract, there is a breakdown that has far reaching consequences for everyone in ways that one might not have imagined.
The partnership, team, unity is always compromised when “us” is replaced with “me”.
Grandpa Hanson recovered from the huge financial hit despite the struggles but the possibilities of what could have been, we will never know.
“Two are better than one,
because they have a good return for their labor:
10 If either of them falls down,
one can help the other up.
But pity anyone who falls
and has no one to help them up.
11 Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm.
But how can one keep warm alone?
12 Though one may be overpowered,
two can defend themselves.
A cord of three strands is not quickly broken”