The Law of the Jungle and the Law of Christ
Galatians 6:2,5 (NKJV)
Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ... For each one shall bear his own load.
From Rudyard Kipling's timeless classic, The Jungle Book, comes this morsel of wisdom:
"Now this is the Law of the Jungle -- as old and as true as the sky; And the Wolf that shall keep it may prosper, but the Wolf that shall break it must die. As the creeper that girdles the tree-trunk the Law runneth forward and back -- For the strength of the Pack is the Wolf, and the strength of the Wolf is the Pack."
Pay especially close attention, if you will, to that last line: "The strength of the Pack is the Wolf, and the strength of the Wolf is the pack." There is so much instruction for us in that simple metaphorical statement, especially if we consider it in concert with the words of the Apostle Paul.
Allow me to break it down:
THE STRENGTH OF THE PACK IS THE WOLF.
You have heard, no doubt, that a chain is only as strong as its weakest link. In any place of community - whether a home, a church, a business organization, or whatever - the strength of the whole is contingent upon the contribution of each individual. Without the wolf, there is no pack. It is the strength and dedication of the wolf that makes the pack a possibility.
The same is true in your church or home or place of business.
Paul puts it this way: "For each one shall bear his own load."
Let one soldier in a unit fail to do his job, and the entire unit is at risk. Let one member of a team be derelict in his duties and the whole team may fail. Let one church member fail to shoulder his part of the ministry burden, and the entire congregation is put at a disadvantage. Let one family member... well, you get the picture, right?
The strength of the pack is the wolf. You do matter. It IS important whether you do your part. No individual has ever lived and died to himself alone. Your influence and potential is greater than you may realize.
THE STRENGTH OF THE WOLF IS THE PACK
As strong and beautiful as the individual wolf may be, if he is alone, he is vulnerable. He is not a great solitary hunter. His safety and his strength is in the pack
For the church, Paul taps into this truth about the "pack mentality" in Galatians 6:2 when he instructs us to help bear the burdens of others. A community of believers is at its best when it rallies to the aid of a faltering member. Whether it is seeing a widow through the loss of her husband, or a young couple through the death of a child, or a family through the stress of unemployment, or simply lifting one another up in prayer before the throne of the grace.
Way back in Genesis, God saw and asserted that it was not "good" for a man to be alone. He needs companionship. He needs community. Let us beware of too much isolation. Let us be even more acutely aware of how vitally important the church, the home, the workplace, the nation, etc. is to our lives.
The point here is that we each have individual responsibilities, but we should not be individualists. We need each other. Together, with each of us doing our part, we are as formidable and as functional as the wolf pack.
And that, my friend, is the law of Christ...and the law of the jungle.
A PRAYER FOR TODAY:
"Father, I want to take the time today to be thankful for the places of community You have afforded me. (Be specific. Give thanks for your, family, church, workplace, country, etc.) I pray that I will never take them for granted, and that I will fulfill my individual responsibility so that I am ever a blessing and never a burden. In Jesus' name. Amen."