What’s Happening Wednesday: The Pareto Principle

Last night, I had the opportunity to vote in local elections. people across the country got to choose who would represent them on everything from local school boards to state-wide offices. My hometown elected it’s first African-American mayor. I am hopeful that he and the other elected officials will do well in their positions.

Voting is both a right and a privilege. We get to participate in the election process, but we are not required to do so. I think I saw that less than 20% of registered voters actually cast a vote in my county yesterday. It reminded me of the Pareto principle, that 20 percent of the people do 80 percent of the work. It applies to our democracy. It also applies in our churches.

I also attended Bible study last night for the first time in nearly two years. You know who was at Bible study? The 20 percent. The trustees, the finance people, the Sunday school teachers, the deacons, and the praise team leaders. The folks who always show up.

Two things happen when a few people do all the work: Those people wear themselves out and they get all the blame when something goes wrong. Both of these outcomes are completely unfair.

We all bear responsibility for what goes on in our communities, and especially our churches. If you are one of the 20 percenters, my challenge to you is to find someone in your community, and bring them with you when you vote, or serve, or whatever it is you do. If you are among the 80 percent, consider what you could do to relieve someone who does most of the work.

The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few.

I pray that you find work for your hands to do. Amen.

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