Devotions

Maybe There is a Somebody

There’s an oft-quoted story from broadcaster Charles Osgood about Anybody, Somebody, Nobody, and Everybody.  I struggled to find an original posting of it, but this site (among others) shared both the full version, and the following condensed version.  (If you have an original citation for this, I would welcome that, so that I can properly reference it.)

There was an important job to be done and Everybody was sure that Somebody would do it.

Anybody could have done it, but Nobody did it.

Somebody got angry about that because it was Everybody’s job.

Everybody thought Anybody could do it, but Nobody realized that Everybody couldn’t do it.

It ended up that Everybody blamed Somebody when Nobody did what Anybody could have.


It occurs to me that there is perhaps an allegory here, and I wonder if you might indulge me with a bit of poetic license.

There was an important job to be done, and Everybody was sure that Somebody could do it.

When we are honest with ourselves, we realize that we need something more that can’t be found in ourselves or in the natural world around us.  This makes sense, since we were created to live in harmony with each other (and with the rest of the world around us), and to have a healthy relationship with God our creator.

After thumbing their nose at Him, many people thought that they could be good enough to earn back God’s favor, only to discover that God was so holy that He couldn’t accept anyone who had chosen to separate themselves from Him (by choosing to rebel against His loving instructions).  Some people thought that sacrificing animals would make them OK with God again, but an animal’s life was not enough to pay for the sins of human beings.  Instead, these sacrifices merely reminded people how sinful they were.  (See Hebrews 10:3-4)

Anybody could have been right with God, but Nobody achieved it.

Theoretically, any of us could have just done the right thing each time we were offered a choice.  However, given the decision to do the right thing, every single one of us invariably did the wrong thing.  Usually, this wasn’t just a little slip-up either, but a repeated pattern of consciously doing what we know God didn’t want us to do.  We believed that we knew better, or we gave in to our selfishness and pride, rather than submitting to God who knew what was best for us all along.  (See Romans 3:22-24)

Somebody got angry about this situation, because it was affecting Everybody. 

Rather than fixing the problem of sin (which humanity proved powerless to address), we blamed each other, comparing our sin levels to others, or making up our own rules (like believing that being more good than bad was enough for us to claim fellowship with a perfectly righteous God).  In our sin, we even dragged other human beings into our sins, so we wouldn’t feel all alone in them.  In the end, only our misery enjoyed the company, and everyone – even those who were still innocent – felt the consequences of the individual and collective sins practiced by the rest of us.

Everybody thought that Anybody could fix things, but Nobody realized that Everybody couldn’t do it.

We sought out those who would tell us stories (whether fabricated from the imagination, or whispered by other evil forces) that made us feel better about ourselves.  Entire worldviews were constructed where humans were the most advanced beings in the universe, rather than a bunch of failures who voluntarily chose to live apart from God.  (See 2 Timothy 4:3-4)

We followed those who promised us pleasure, but left us with pain.  We chased chemicals and bad habits and toxic relationships, and found that they didn’t deliver on their claims of happiness.  The highs crashed, the habits began to control us, and the relationships left us with holes in our hearts.

Eventually, everyone realized that the suffering of this world couldn’t be avoided, but few were willing to admit it.  Like the Emperor with no clothes, [almost] no one wanted to admit that they were vulnerable, broken, and tired.

It ended up that pretty much Nobody saw it coming when Somebody did what Everybody [else] could not.

After millennia of humanity proving out our abject inability to live up to God’s righteousness (despite it being a series of relatively simple choices on the face of things), God did what none of us could.  He stepped into our world (which He had created, and remained involved with), and provided the solution that none of us could obtain: Jesus Christ came and lived a perfectly righteous life as a human being (while also remaining wholly God).  Then, with the right to claim favor with God by His actions, Jesus voluntarily exchanged that perfect life – that truthful claim of perfect righteousness – for sinful, failed, broken human beings.

In return, Jesus offered each of us – Everybody – a life of joy (but not always happiness), a life of purpose (but not always pleasure), and a life lived as we were created in the first place.

“For this is how God loved the world: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life. God sent his Son into the world not to judge the world, but to save the world through him.
John 3:16‭-‬17 NLT

https://bible.com/bible/116/jhn.3.16-17.NLT

Jesus doesn’t compel us to take Him up on His offer, but it is open to you if you haven’t yet accepted it.  Let me know (or ask a trusted friend or pastor who knows Jesus) if you have any questions about what that looks like.  In the end, you can find what you are looking for in Him.


Scripture quotations marked (NLT) are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright ©1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, a Division of Tyndale House Ministries, Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

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