Who Do You Know?

Friends are those rare people who ask how we are and then wait to hear the answer.

Ed Cunningham

“It’s not about what you know, it’s about who you know” The key to get ahead was in knowing the right people and you could unlock anything. It all hinges on who you know. Excellent paying jobs with exceptional benefits, the great opportunities for advancement in life can be attained, but it all depends on who you know.

That is what I was taught growing up. I did not want to believe it just because it seemed fake to me. It did not seem honest and just the thought sounded fraudulent. In some weird way I knew it was true, even though I did not want it to be.

I was also taught that to get anywhere in life one must work hard and earn every step of the way. So I felt stuck between these two ideas, mostly because I did not fully understand what it meant. As years went by, the more I began to believe and realize the power that lied in strong relationships.

Later, my focus leaned more towards knowing the right people. I was able to hold good paying jobs, positions, and meet people empowered just because of who I knew. I had no business in positions that others had spent years in college for. And there I was all just because of who I knew. Some would ask me, “ how did you get that job?” Well…I replied, “ I know people.” I still worked hard and earned my way, but if it had not been for the opportunity through who I knew, it would be much more difficult.

Time went on and I learned that I was missing something even though I had great opportunities and open doors in all the right places. I did not have real relationships with any of the people. It became more about who I knew rather than what I knew about them. I failed to see people for who they really were and instead saw them as an opportunity for advancement. I failed to appreciate the identity of people because my focus was on what they could do for me.

Sadly, there is still much truth to the phrase, “it is about who you know.” People you know could lend a hand to get your foot in the door to places that would be nearly impossible on your own. However, we run the risk of taking people for granted and putting more value in what they can provide for us rather than in the relationship.

Luke 9:18-20 Explains that after Jesus prayed one day he asked the disciples, “Who do the crowds say I am?” They immediately mentioned what the word on the street was. Some mentioned John the Baptist, Elijah, Jeremiah or a prophet from long ago. Then Jesus directs the question to them as if that was the intention all along. “But what about you? Who do you say I am?” Only Peter answered, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.”

Do you know who you claim to follow? Do you know of him or do you know him personally? Many have heard of him, but do not know much about him. People saw what Jesus did, the miracles, healings and how people followed. This was entertainment for some, attractive and amusing yet an answer for others. Many saw the performance, but failed to see the promise.

Some wanted to follow him just to see the wonders. Others followed out of need, desperate for hope, but others saw only an opportunity. Do you honor God for who he is or for what he can do for you? Do you know him or just know of him?

Sometimes we seek people out of our own selfish ambition and we fail to value them as a person. We gain little just to lose so much more. We lose the opportunity for real relationships because we only see an invitation for our own benefit.

The greatest opportunities mostly come from people you know, but at what cost? If there was nothing in it for you, would you still reach out to them? I am convinced that it is less about what you know and more about who you know.

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