I am a librarian at a Christian college and this week starts a beginning of the semester ritual in the library. Everyone wants to know if our library has the textbook they need for their class. What has fascinated me about this seasonal phenomenon is that in many cases this will be the only time in the semester when I will see most of these students. Somehow between the beginning of the semester and the end, the library becomes an afterthought. I have determined that the reason for this is in the power of incentives.
Apparently, the incentive of finding your textbook, even if it is an older edition, without having to pay bookstore prices, is so great that students will risk the library stereotypes and anxiety that is often prevalent among college students. But, when these same students have to complete a research assignment later in the semester, the appeal as to what the library can bring them over other options is low. The other options available to the students for research are vast, convenient, and often appropriate but the options that the library can bring them are all of these things plus better suited for academia, closer to the expectations of professors, and advantageous to better grades.
What does this have to do with Christian living? Just as using the library to find textbooks becomes a desperate attempt at convenience and cost saving, seeking God when we are desperate becomes highly attractive. Also, just as the student often forgets about the library when in other circumstances, the Christian often forgets about God when faced with ordinary living. Similarly, the student fails to realize how much better their academic existence would be if they were more familiar with the library’s resources. The Christian fails to realize how much better their existence would be if they were more familiar with God.
The role of Christian teachers and evangelist and even bloggers is to demonstrate how multiple incentives exist through a daily relationship with God not just in times of emergency. I would even venture to say, at least from my own experiences, that the God of desperate times is great but the God of ordinary times is even greater.