By Kimberly S. McAfee
As an MBA student, I frequently have to go to campus on weekends to meet group members and discuss projects. One particular weekend, I just happened to be on campus during the time most fraternities and sororities meet. I did not drive to this particular meeting, and was waiting outside for my ride. While I was waiting, I saw several young men and ladies walk to their designated meeting areas, but one group of young men congregated around the entrance of the Business building I just left.
I noticed one member of this group was quite upset, and venting to his fraternity brothers. He spoke loudly and cursed frequently. The campus was also very quiet then, so even though I moved to a different area to escape the foul language, I could still hear the commotion quite well.
From what I could gather, they were set to have a special ceremony, and a nameless member informed the upset gentleman that he would not be in attendance; he would instead be out of town with his close friends to attend an Auburn University football game. Attendance at these games was a tradition amongst him and his close friends. The gentleman felt this was very insulting and insisted that the fraternity function “was something bigger than himself.” His distaste grew significantly as he retold the final blow to his fraternity brothers, “then he said “but those are my boys.””
While we each have responsibilities, and I no way condone abandoning important tasks/functions, I appreciated the nameless fraternity member’s decision: he chose to pour into his special, true friendships over a fraternity event. He also acted maturely in that he informed his fraternity brother beforehand. How many times do we choose work, meetings, etc. over time with our loved ones? We each have a limited time on this earth, and though we may appreciate that intellectually, we frequently don’t live in a way that honors the time and loved ones God has so richly blessed us with. What do we really gain when we make a habit of staying at work late, working on the weekends, and attending a myriad of networking functions? Most often, it is weariness, anxiety and stress.
This situation brought to mind the meeting of Mary, Martha and Jesus in Luke 10:38-42. Martha was busy and toiled, with a laser-like focus on her tasks at hand. Mary however noticed the importance of the time with Jesus, and stayed at his feet to receive his teachings. While the situation with the fraternity members is different in that teaching was not involved, I see a similar dynamic at play here: the venting fraternity member focusing on what “should” be done, the task at hand, and the nameless fraternity member focusing on relationships and the special time to spend with friends.
I myself have been guilty of paying more attention to tasks, work, all the “other” things that come along, versus spending quality time with family and friends. Though education, work, and even ministry are important, it’s the time with our beloved family and friends that bring sweetness to life. So next time you’re considering working late, think of the nameless fraternity member and his “boys,” your family and friends will enjoy that quality time with you.
Kimberly S. McAfee is currently an MBA student at Columbus State University and Accounting Manager at the Teen Challenge Southeast Regional Headquarters, both located in Columbus, GA. She can be reached via her blog at http://www.theblessedandsimplelife.blogspot.com.