I know this may seem like an odd question, but if I asked you to correctly guess the weight of an ox, would you be able to do so? Believe it or not, a scientist named Sir Frances Galton not only sought out an answer to this question but found one.
In 1906, Sir Galton gathered 787 villagers at a local county fair and had each one take a guess at the weight of an ox named Bubba. Okay, so I made up the last part, but since the name of the ox has been lost over time, Bubba it is. The rest of the story is quite true.
Not one person correctly guessed Bubba’s weight, but when all the guesses were averaged together the final answer was off by only one pound! This experiment has been repeated numerous times over the years with all sorts of variables, but the result has stayed the same. The collective wisdom of the crowd is better than the wisdom of just one person.
You might be asking yourself what does the weight of an ox named Bubba have to do with me? Don’t worry. This is not my way of hinting at anyone’s need to get to the gym. However, I do realize that we are in that part of the year where so many people are trying to make personal changes. Resolutions have been made in the hopes of seeing improved finances, relationships, spiritual lives, and yes, even waistlines. However, what I’ve noticed is that most people try to tackle these resolutions alone. Is it any wonder why most of these new commitments fail?
If one thing is clear it is that God has called His children to live in relationship with Him and in relationship with one another. We’re not meant to go through this life or face it’s challenges alone! Listen to what God’s Word has to say on the subject.
Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts. And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. (Colossians 3:16–17, NIV)
Notice how this passage highlights 3 sources of life and wisdom that we are always meant to have with us.
- God’s Word – Remember that God’s Word is “lamp unto our feet and a light unto our path.” By turning to Scripture, I often find answers to the problems I am facing, answers that I couldn’t have found on my own.
- God’s People – The Lord has not called us to be a part of the church because He enjoys taking attendance. To be a part of the body of Christ means living in encouraging and strengthening relationships with other men and women who are experiencing the same struggles I am. I cannot overemphasize the importance of being an involved member in a local body of believers.
- God Himself – Most importantly, as I navigate through the uncharted waters and difficult terrains of life, I need the presence and guidance of God Almighty constantly beside me. One of the best ways to ensure this is through worship. As I worship God, I am not only recognizing His sovereignty over my life but I am relinquishing my control of things.
So the next time you find yourself trying to take on the world by yourself, remember Sir Galton and an ox named Bubba. Not one person could figure out his weight on his or her own, but the collective wisdom of the group found the answer. When you bring to bear the collective wisdom of God’s Word, God’s people, and God Himself over your challenges and resolutions, you have found a powerful combination.