Bible, Christian Life, Christianity, community, fandom, fellowship, friends, friendship, God, inspirational, Jesus, motivational, My Little Pony, My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic, New Testament, Old Testament
Inspiration for this Motivational: “Friendship is Magic”
Twilight Sparkle is my favorite character out of the Mane Six. I like something about all of them because that’s just the kind of characters they are, but I like her the most. And the pilot episode, “Friendship is Magic”, shows exactly why: she’s bookish, nerdy, not exactly anti-social but far from outgoing and talkative, is totally obsessed with being a good student, and has a really hard time relating to other people enough to make friends. In other words, she’s exactly how I was in school. 😛
Because of that, I can sympathize with her in this episode. I’m going to single out the people who were the “A” students in school, but I’m guessing that most of you can sympathize with her. Because we know the worst two words to ever hear on work we have to do: group assignment. Those are a nightmare. To those of us who were the overachievers or the ones who always got good grades, we hated those. We hated the fact we couldn’t do the whole assignment ourselves, because we knew that we ourselves could get it right and get it done the first time. We had no idea what our group members would do, especially since team assignments were usually random. And if you were anything like me, you hated it whenever you had to work with other people because you always preferred to do your own work…to only be responsible for your own assignment.
But whether you’ve been in school or at home or at work or anywhere, chances are there has been a time in your life where you felt qualified to do something, were ready and raring to go, and all of the sudden whoever is in charge made it a “group assignment”. And as far as life “group assignments” go, there’s probably no one that’s more of a “downer” or “eye-roller” than living the Christian life.
I think a lot of us would much prefer if it was just between “me and Jesus”. I read my Bible, pray my prayers, do my devotionals, and then I try my best to live my life in accordance with God’s will. I want to become a greater Christian, but I want to only be accountable to God. I want to spread the message to others, but I’d like to avoid that whole “fellowship” thing. I know I’m not alone but I’m going to assume I’m in the majority when I say I’m part of the Christian group that doesn’t like going to Church, and that when I do go to Church it’s not so much for the fellowship as the praise and worship and the sermon. Maybe to be there with my family. Or maybe I’m one of those who goes to Church outings or picnics or events for a good time, but when it comes to things like Bible studies or group prayer or simply hanging out with other Church members to talk about what happened that week, I’m definitely in the minority.
At the risk of likening Princess Celestia to Jesus…I think we all wish sometimes, or at least think sometimes, that God should work the same way Twilight Sparkle wanted: give me a task to do and focus all on me and me alone. “Skip hanging out with those other ponies who want to do something about the world to. Don’t waste my time with those gatherings with all of those “crazy ponies”. Just point me in the direction of whatever is evil and let me handle it and show you what a ‘great student’ I am!”
The Bible, and history in general, not just Christian history, is continuously filled with images of the “one person” who stands in the breach, or rises up, or otherwise demonstrates to us the power of how one individual can make a difference. And that’s important, because it should remind us not only that one person is not powerless, but that God can bring about great change through single individuals. But at the same time, it’s important to realize that most of these people did not operate in a vacuum or completely by themselves. Even the greatest individuals in the Bible had times of fellowship and friends to turn to and be with. There are few people in the Bible who were able to completely “go-it-alone”. David was the great king of the unified Israel, but the Old Testament devotes an entire section to speaking about his “mighty men” who went with him into battle and helped him in his victories. Elijah was renown as the great prophet of the Old Testament who stood up against all of the Israelite kingdom when they had turned to idolatry and away from God, but he had fellowship with Elisha, and it wasn’t purely by God’s awesome power that he was sustained but rather by working through others in Elijah’s life.
Jesus Himself is one individual we would never picture “needing anyone”. After all, He’s the Messiah. God was always at His side. And yet, before He even performed His first miracle, not long after coming out of the desert, Mark 1: 16-17 reads:
“As He was going along by the Sea of Galilee, He saw Simon and Andrew, the brother of Simon, casting a net in the sea; for they were fishermen. And Jesus said to them, “Follow Me, and I will make you become fishers of men.”
Even Jesus began to draw people to Himself almost as soon as He started His own ministry. And eventually from His disciples He chose the Twelve Apostles to share an even closer fellowship with Him. And then He chose Peter, James, and John to be even closer than that. And John from them to be even closer. Even Jesus desired friendship and community with those around Him.
In Genesis 2:18, from the beginning, God says: “It is not good for man to be alone”. Now, that was referring to the actual original “man” in that sense but I think it’s meant to apply to everyone. While there are times we all need to be alone either for ourselves or out of necessity, there are times when we all need to “make some friends”, or simply be friends. Even if you can handle life alone, it’s nice to have people to talk to to share funny stories or life’s difficulties or simply sit around talking about nothing. It’s great to know you have people you can depend on and who can depend upon you in return. It really does make a world of difference when someone you know, for no other reason than friendship, simply calls you up or texts you for no other reason than to ask how you’re doing.
Isn’t it a great feeling when, when you’re going through dark times or troublesome difficulties or any sort of financial trouble or crisis, that you know there’s someone out there who will be there simply to listen to you or pat you on the shoulder? Or when you’re venturing out of your comfort zone or trying something risky for the first time, something that has you scared or you’re not quite sure about, isn’t it great to know there are people who have gone through the same thing, perhaps still just as scared as you are, but are backing you up every step of the way?
It is not good to be alone or, more importantly, to feel as if you are all alone. To know that other people are there for you or backing you up or praying for you, even if they can’t be with your personally, is far more empowering than to do it all by yourself.
We were made to need each other. The Body of Christ is the Church as a whole, not just individuals within the Church. And not just as people who shake hands during the “morning greeting” once every week or we pass collection plates to, but real friendships. Ones that, just like with Twilight Sparkle and her new friends, are genuine enough to appreciate each other for all the quirks, oddities, and mishaps that take place.
As Jesus says in Matthew 18:20, “For wherever two or three are gathered in My name, there I am with them.”
Suggested Prayer: “Lord God, thank you for the gift of friendship and community, and thank you for making me so that when I am in godly fellowship with my friends and loved ones that I can be braver, stronger, more determined, and more daring to make a change to this world for the better and to bring the Kingdom of God closer to hand. If I am in need of such friendships/fellowships, I pray that you will lead me to the ones that will help me to become all that you envision me to be. If I am fortunate enough to already have them, I pray that I always act as a source of encouragement and support to my own friends and never take them for granted, and that together we always motivate each other to be better for your glory. Gratefully in Jesus’ Name, Amen.”