No Man Is An Island

I learnt recently that the popular phrase, ‘No man is an island’ is the first line of a poem written in 1624 by John Donne, a poet and cleric. His use of ‘island’ as a metaphor suggests isolation and remoteness.  The poem depicts the inappropriateness of people living independently of one another. This is also true for Christians.

Hebrews 12:1 records – ‘Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us.’

Firstly, let us lay aside that which weighs us down. We are prone to trip and fall by the wayside. The appropriateness of the phrase ‘let us’ is a reminder to look out for one another. In reference to relationships of friends or marriages, Ecclesiastes 4:12 makes sense – ‘And though a man might prevail against one who is alone, two will withstand him—a threefold cord is not quickly broken.’ Just like the flickering fire on a lone wood is easier to be snuffed out, as compared to it being placed together in a burning heap, standing alongside each other enables us to fend off attacks which weigh us down.

Secondly, let us press on. The Christian journey is often described as a marathon. Along the way, there may be moments of discouragements. Sometimes, there are obstacles that seem unsurmountable. At other times, fatigue may set in. We need to nudge each other forward!

Hence, that which weighs us down and the need to keep pressing forward require us to be interdependent in Christian living.

Elder Richard Lai