Often times, we think about our individual accomplishments without considering the price we will have to pay. Is our dream worth it if we achieve it alone?
In the Disney film Wreck-It Ralph, Ralph may be a good guy, but his job is being a bad guy in the fictional classic arcade game Fix-It Felix.
After crashing (literally and figuratively) a party celebrating his game’s anniversary, Ralph sets off to win a medal—given only to “heroes”—to prove his worth and be welcomed into the building with the rest of the game’s characters.
He secures the medal, but the only people surrounding him are holographic soldiers and a commander repeating a stock speech given to anyone who beats the game.
And Ralph’s medal comes at a cost to all those who are actually around him on a regular basis.
His absence causes the arcade owner to assume the game is malfunctioning, placing it in danger of being permanently disconnected. He makes a friend of a fellow video game outcast, but destroys their friendship—in part to get his medal back.
Back in his soon-to-be shut down game, Ralph is given the keys to the penthouse, as promised if he came back with a medal.
“I’m tired of living alone in the garbage,” he tells Gene, the mayor of the city in the game. “Well, now you can live alone in the penthouse,” retorts Gene.
Ralph has achieved his goal, but without anyone there to recognize his accomplishment or celebrate with him, he realizes the emptiness of it all.
In the film, Ralph is able to make amends, but that’s not always the case in real life.
The workaholic father will never get the years of their kids’ lives back. The woman obsessed with “finding herself” may end up losing her marriage.
Obviously, God can bring repentance to those who need it and restoration and healing to relationships broken along the way. Isolation has consequences, however, not merely for us, but also for those around us.
From the very beginning, God saw that it was not good for man to be alone—both for the man and for the rest of God’s creation.
To be everything that we were created to be, to accomplish all that God has set before us, we need to be in relationship with others. We need to be in community.
We can deceive ourselves into thinking that isolation will lead to greater achievement, but it will only increase our disappointment when we reach our goal and find it unfulfilling.
Even more to the point for the Christian, without relationships, we cannot rightly reflect God’s image or accomplish His purposes.
God exists in eternal relationship within the Trinity. Being with other people is one of the ways we reflect His image. When He created man, God said it was not good for us to be alone.
Not only did God create marriage and the family to accomplish the task of subduing the whole earth, He ordained the community of the church to fulfill the Great commission.
Being in relationships with others and existing in community is the only way we can truly accomplish what God has called us to do. And it is the only way to actually enjoy the achievements in our lives.
Achievement needs community because it becomes vanity without it.