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Inspiration for Today’s Devotional: “Dungeons & Discords”
This was one episode I had to watch more than once to get the real hook for it, but once I did I found it to be rather poignant. Discord finds his normal time of the month with Fluttershy cut off due to her being called off on business, and ends up reluctantly heading out along with Spike and Big Macintosh for a “Guy’s Night”. However, when it turns out that “Guy’s Night” is nothing more than tabletop RPGing, Discord vents not only his distaste for the two as unsocial nerds, but ends up, in his usual fashion, trolling them to boot. Yet he gets a major shock not long after when Spike blows up and reveals the only reason they even invited him was because they felt sorry for him, and he, much to his own embarrassment, realizes as geeky and pathetic as he thought Spike and Big Mac were, he was the one who didn’t have any other friends to hang out with besides the one pony who would tolerate him. He quickly realized, far from being the life of the party, he was in fact receiving pity and had inadvertently thrown it back in the face of those distributing it.
This episode made me think a bit about how we can become so focused on achieving one thing or focusing on one good thing that we completely ignore what’s right in front of us.
Given the recent horrendous flooding in my area, it brought to mind a story I heard in a sermon once:
There was once a very devout and religious man. His faith was great and he put his complete trust in God in every situation. One day it began to rain very hard, and the river near him started to flood. But he wasn’t the least bit afraid. Instead, he prayed to God to deliver him from the flood, and he believed completely that he would save him.
The water climbed until it reached the doorway of his house. At that point, an emergency vehicle came by offering to evacuate him. Yet he shook his head, saying that he had already prayed to God and he would take care of him.
The water continued to rise until it entered the house and was up to the man’s waist. At that point, a boat with emergency workers came by and offered to evacuate him. Again, he shook his head, saying that he had already prayed to God and he would take care of him.
The waters continued to rise dramatically after that, until the house itself was submerged and all that was left was the roof. The man sat on top, but the water continued to climb and would soon cover that as well. At that point, an emergency helicopter came by and a man went down on a line to take him away. Yet once again, he shook his head, saying that he had already prayed to God and he would take care of him.
The flood waters continued to rise, the roof was covered, and the man was washed away and drowned. Yet being a man who had accepted Christ as his Lord and Savior, he went to Heaven and came face to face with God. Only then did he express his disappointment. He told God that he prayed to him to deliver him and had been faithful and trusting the whole time, never wavering and faithfully awaiting him to save him, and yet in the end he had let him drown.
God, in response, could only shrug. “Well, I sent you a car, a boat, and a helicopter. What else did you want me to do?”
There are many people in this country and around the world who not only call themselves Christian but also pray for more power and more opportunity to make a change in the world around them. Yet how often do they witness to others? How often do they do charitable work? When there’s an emergency in their area, do they volunteer any time? When there’s a shortage on food for the needy or blood for the sick, do they make any donations? When a friend or co-worker is hurting, do they go out of their way to do something to make them happy? Do they try to connect with their own families and children, making a conscious effort to make time for them?
I’ve shared this in an earlier devotional, but now’s a good time to bring it up again. Back in college I volunteered at a soup kitchen. I thought it would be a great opportunity for me to proclaim Jesus to the people who came in and out. Yet whenever people came in, I’d always get tongue-tied and tense as I tried to think of the perfect way to break the ice and share the message, and as a result I always ended up sounding stressed and miserable, and the few times I could bring up God I got into religious arguments rather than provided anything persuasive or constructive. Meanwhile, the other Christians who volunteered there connected far more readily and easily with people just by talking to them as fellow human beings. They didn’t even mention the name “Jesus” to them and yet frequently got “God bless you”s back from the people who came in. Clearly, I was doing it wrong…focusing so much on saying the perfect line or getting out the core message of the Gospel that I missed a golden opportunity to minister right in front of me.
There is never any shortage of need in the world, and God calls people both to higher vocations as well as to “lesser” ones that are all around them. “For just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy in accordance with your faith; if it is serving, then serve; if it is teaching, then teach; if it is to encourage, then give encouragement; if it is giving, then give generously; if it is to lead, do it diligently; if it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully.” (Romans 12:4-8) In fact, the Bible indicates that if we want more responsibility, God wants us to prove ourselves responsible in smaller matters first. (“Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much, and whoever is dishonest with very little will also be dishonest with much.” Luke 16:10) And being a Christian isn’t just in one sphere of influence, but happens everywhere in every aspect of life. Therefore, we must be sure we aren’t so focused in one possibility that we let everything God is sending our way go unnoticed as it lands right in front of us.
I take today’s episode as a little friendly reminder to not be so focused on obtaining a goal, gaining a vocation, or making one achievement that we neglect to see the very answers to our prayers and callings of God spread before our eyes. I don’t think any of us would like to come to the end of our lives and see God shrugging in bafflement at our cluelessness. 😛
Suggested Prayer: “Lord God, thank you that when I ask for opportunities to do your will and make a difference in the world, you always provide. And thank you for everything you have given me that enables me to serve some need in this world and make it better for those around me. Please open my eyes to all the opportunities you send me each day and not let any of them ‘float down the river’. Gratefully in Jesus’ Name, Amen.”