Recent events have taken the world by storm. What started as a small breakout of a pneumonia-like illness in China, turned into a global pandemic that has killed many thousands and crippled the world economy. Now that quarantines are commonplace across the globe and many churches have had to shut their doors, what should we as Christians do? That’s the question I’m aiming to answer today. I have three areas for us to consider that can help us be a light to the world during this time of stress and turmoil
Take the virus seriously
By now, it’s apparent that Covid-19 is a serious risk to many people and it’s likely your church has stopped meeting as usual and has either transitioned to video church or broken down into small study groups of ten or less. Thankfully for us, the church was never about meeting in a building, but about encouraging one another to practice godly love and good works.
Part of godly love is being considerate of others and their needs, including doing what’s best for other people’s health. As Christians, we should all do our best to help prevent the spread of Coronavirus. The question is, how do we do that? A certain individual gave this great advice, and I believe it sums up the process perfectly. “We should all do what we would do if we knew someone in the same room as us had Covid-19.” It’s that simple. If you knew someone near you had the virus you’d definitely make sure to thoroughly wash your hands and keep your distance from them. So to be safe, it’s best for us all to act like everyone has Covid-19 and be cautious. (Without unnecessary panic of course!) By doing this, we ensure we do our part to be considerate of others and their health.
Be a light of hope to those around you
As Christians, we live on a foundation of hope and faith. In times of turmoil, we have the opportunity to rely on God and show our faith to others. While we aren’t allowed to meet in large groups, we are able to share the love of Christ in other ways.
You are probably already aware of the toilet paper shortage, the lack of cleaning supplies, and the lack of store inventory in general. During this time of uncertainty, many people are concerned about meeting their needs. This provides us with an opportunity to shine the light of Christ to them. I can’t help but be reminded of this verse:
The wicked borroweth, and payeth not again: but the righteous sheweth mercy, and giveth.
According to this Psalm, the wicked will take and hoard for themselves but the righteous give. We have all heard of the negative side of this fulfilled in the last few days. For example, selfish people hoarding cleaning supplies and selling them for a profit at another’s expense. But let’s personally consider the positive. Have we as Christians fulfilled the righteous side? Have we given? Since there is currently a shortage in the market, we now have the opportunity to share what we have with those who might not have been as fortunate as us. This means we can easily minister by calling our neighbors to see if they have a need we can fill and then fill it. Giving food, money, and other resources are all ways we can help those around us. After all, as Paul reminds us,
I have shewed you all things, how that so labouring ye ought to support the weak, and to remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he said, It is more blessed to give than to receive.
Jesus Himself says it’s better to give than to get. There’s no lasting joy found in hoarding material things, but there is an infinite joy to be found in giving to others. We too can be like Jesus by giving when giving isn’t easy and when our flesh tempts us to focus on ourselves. Giving is a form of serving others, and serving others is a form of worship. Jesus makes this clear in Matt 25:40 when he says,
Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me
By giving from our surplus, we can serve Christ by giving a little bit of hope and joy in Christ’s name and be blessed together with them.
And whosoever shall give to drink unto one of these little ones a cup of cold water only in the name of a disciple, verily I say unto you, he shall in no wise lose his reward.
Pray and Act
Is any among you afflicted? let him pray. Is any merry? let him sing psalms. Is any sick among you? let him call for the elders of the church; and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord: And the prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up; and if he have committed sins, they shall be forgiven him.
In this passage, James shows us the importance of prayer and teaches us that prayer can change lives. However, let us not forget that for almost every prayer answered there is someone who acted on God’s behalf to answer that prayer. Let’s not only pray but also be watching for opportunities to serve on God’s behalf.
We need to pray for those suffering from the virus- not just those we know, not just those in our country, but for those across the entire world. China, Italy, and many other countries have been devastated. Death and anxiety have overpowered society leaving little hope in its path. Many doctors and nurses have had to make extremely difficult decisions on who to treat and who to turn away, knowing well that turning them away may lead to their death.
Pray for the doctors and nurses who had to make hard decisions so they will have peace. Pray for those suffering so they will find health. Pray for those who are healthy so they will do their part to not spread the virus and minister to others. Pray for those who have lost loved ones so they can be comforted. Pray for God to touch the earth with His mercy so he will remove this virus from us.
Act, by showing support for doctors and nurses. If you know one, thank them for risking their health and lives to serve others. Act by letting those who are sick know you are praying for them. Act by letting them know that if they have needs you’d like to do what you can to help. Act by ensuring you too follow proper procedures so you do not get and spread the virus yourself. (AKA: Wash your hands and avoid public gatherings as much as possible.)
A Closing Encouragement
Now is the time for us to step up to the plate as the body of Christ and be a light in the darkness. Many are living in the darkness of uncertainty and a little love from Christ might be just what they need to see the light again. So let’s light a spark and let the lantern burn. In the end, your light might be the one that leads them to salvation.