Hopefully I'm not rehashing here, but the issue that is most personal to me is not progressing in levels, but it is being able to vote, and using that vote wisely. To me, earning that right means that I have at least made a modest contribution to this community, and that someone has found my input useful, or at least entertaining. It also means that I gain a voice in the community beyond writeups, and that I can throw my support where I think it will benefit the community the most. The step from initate to novice is huge. Everything beyond that is gravy.
Of course for us RPG junkies leveling can be something of an an obsession. I admit that achieving Sainthood is a tantalizing goal. One could make Saint by being a court jester and posting entertaining writeups and poetry. One could also make Saint by providing useful code and/or assistance to fellow monks. I'd venture to guess that the second approach results in a quicker rise than the first, which is only appropriate. Either way, whether it's art or science, quickly progressing or making a slow steady rise, a monk can give back to this most generous of communities and be recognized for that contribution. It is up to those with the power to vote to determine the worth of that contribution and reward the contributor accordingly.
"The point of the journey is not to arrive." - Neal Peart