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Inspiration for Today’s Devotional: “Maid in Manehattan”

To paraphrase a famous line from the devotional I myself read, I pose the question: what is the biggest problem facing the Church today?

Apathy, but who cares. 😛

This episode, and in particular the struggles of Rarity, Applejack, and Coco Pommel to put on a theater event for the community in Manehattan, highlights a common problem in political theory known as “the Tragedy of the Commons”. This theory, which is the primary reason nothing is ever free for very long, states that when a single mass resource is made available for everyone to use with the only caveat being an instruction for everyone to use responsibly, it’s only a matter of time before each individual begins to slightly abuse the resource with the understanding that everyone else will be the responsible ones and make up for them. However, since everyone thinks that way, everyone ends up slightly abusing the resource, and as a result of everyone taking advantage of the resource it’s ruined for everyone in the end.

The same situation happened in this episode. The truth was it would have only required a minimal investment of time and energy on everyone’s part collectively to have made the community event much nicer. However, since everyone thought of themselves as personally being too busy, everyone neglected to do their part, and as a result the same thing happened that happens in almost every volunteer event nation-wide and church-wide across the country: a fistful of people do all the work themselves while everyone else reaps the benefits. Even that, however, was a good ending…because in real life many events simply can’t happen, especially when the few “doers” retire or get too tired of doing it (as was nearly the case in this episode with Charity Kindheart).

Episodes like this should get the Christian thinking. How many times are there church events, or even community events, to do picnics, workshops, potlucks, Bible studies, volunteer opportunities like gardening or food drives, outreach, blood donations, or anything else…and we end up having prior commitments not just on one occasion but on all occasions and so we always excuse ourselves, assuming there’s enough people already to negate the need for our participation?

Or how many times do we pass by people in need on the street or see one opportunity after another to donate time or money come by, and we simply keep going because we weren’t planning on spending that time or money or we make some excuse up for ourselves?

And most importantly, how many opportunities do each of us get to share the Gospel and the message of Jesus Christ, the only way to salvation for a damned world, every day, day after day, and we simply think we’ll do it later or leave it to someone else, and then go about our business or activities?

Jesus cautioned that we are the light of the world and the salt of the earth…and He also cautioned that a light that hides itself and salt that loses its flavor is equally worthless and good for nothing (Matthew 5:13-16). More succinctly, James came out and stated that if you only have faith with no works, your faith isn’t worth much of anything (James 2:14-26).

Lord Jesus commanded us to make disciples of all nations…not as a suggestion or a call for volunteers but as a command (Matthew 28:19). And yet while there are supposedly more Christians now than ever before, with more means to reach people and spread the Gospel than ever, to say nothing of the personal freedom to do so, Christians (at least in the USA) are virtually indistinguishable from atheists or agnostics. For me personally, I sometimes stop and wonder if Jesus was to come back to Earth today, or even to walk into my house this evening, exactly how much shame I would feel for my actions or, more importantly, lack thereof.

My suggestion for this week is that we all take a little more time to think about what we can do to bring the Kingdom of God to the world, and maybe make a little time to put it into practice.

Suggested Prayer: “Lord God, I thank you that each new day, regardless of my life until then or what happened yesterday, is not only a gift of life for me but an opportunity to bring the Kingdom of God to this world. Please help me to be mindful of this gift and to make the most of today and every day. Gratefully in Jesus’ Name, Amen.”