OK, clickbait title, but I really believe that this is the action we should be taking. It’s biblical, and it should be done. The world is panicking right now. We are not of this world. We are instructed to give thanks in ALL things, not just the things we understand. Our Father in heaven knows what’s going on; we should probably trust Him.
Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
I know the thought of giving thanks for a pandemic sounds crazy, but this illness is giving the church a phenomenal opportunity. We have an opportunity to rise above the insanity around us and show the world who we trust, who we serve, and who directs our lives. Here are some points of action to consider over the next days and weeks:
1) Pray – Prayer should always be our first reaction, but even more so when the world seems to be crumbling around us. This prayer should start and end with thanks. We can praise God through the storm because we know He controls the waves. We can sleep in the boat instead of panicking. He already has our days numbered; we just don’t have our end date revealed to us yet. He’s got this one.
2) Respect Authority – This is hard for most people (myself included). Even if we don’t always agree with the authorities, if they are not asking us to act against biblical principles, we need to obey. Avoid large groups, stop hoarding, limit travel, etc. Nothing people are being asked to do is against the laws of God. Even closing church services to avoid large group gatherings is biblical. The early church met in small groups in homes, while thousands were being saved every day. Closing services does not close the church, the church has always been the believers, not the building, not the big gatherings, but brothers and sisters lifting each other up wherever they are.
3) Represent Christ Well – Christ was (and is) a servant, we need to do the same. What is going on gives us incredible opportunities to serve those around us. Go shopping for older folks who are more at risk than we are. Watch kids home from school if the parents have to work. Encourage those who are not able to get out through phone calls or social media. Be a true giver and share a roll of TP with someone. Jesus spent all His time sharing, encouraging, feeding, and showing God’s love to those around Him. Jesus is our example.
Last Sunday, due to a scheduled speaking engagement at a church, I found myself in downtown Seattle at dawn. I walked into one of the approximately four thousand very quiet coffee shops in the immediate area (Seattle, remember…) and found two very lonely workers. I placed my order, and we wound up talking for a while. I let them share about the struggles they were going through, about the fears they had, and let them vent a little. I shared why I was in town and tried my best to encourage them. Not a big deal, but this is ministry. Jesus did His best work by the side of the road, next to a well, and walking past a tree. People are hurting all around us, and we have comfort, we have the answers, we can speak to their fears.
My hope and prayer is that you find your peace in everything that is going on in the world. In the mind of man, the world is always ending. From world wars, pandemics, Y2K, depressions/recessions, etc. life is never easy. This storm we’re currently going through will pass, whatever the outcome. How cool is it that we serve a God who already knows the outcome and will use these trials for the good of those who follow Him. Please rest in that peace that surpasses all understanding.
(footnote – The church service I spoke at was closed to members attending in person, it was broadcast to people watching at home – still the church, just in different buildings. Link to the service: Mountain Vineyard )
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