News Flash: We are living in a time of global crisis.
OK, so we all know that, but what do we do about it?
On Wednesday night, I did a Facebook Live event for our congregation (you can watch it here) and shared some ideas that flow out of Jeremiah 29:1-14. In that passage, the Israelites are in Babylonian captivity and exile yet God tells his people to “seek the peace and prosperity of the city to which I have carried you.” That’s what we are doing by following the health protocols set forth by our national, state, and community leaders. By cancelling worship services and practicing “social-distancing,” we are seeking the peace and prosperity of our city by partnering with our city’s efforts to limit the spread of the coronavirus in our community.
But in that same passage, God also instructs his people to find the opportunities that exist within their challenges – opportunities that bless the people around them and help themselves grow stronger. This posture of seeking opportunities in times of crisis is a consistent theme in Scripture.
And why not?
When you follow the death-defying King of Kings whose gospel is a hope-filling message, you believe that there is always an opportunity to practice and spread that hope – no matter what is happening around you.
So, here are six opportunities that we can take advantage of in “the age of the coronavirus”…
- We have an opportunity to practice the “one another” passages in the New Testament that define the relationships that exist within the church of Jesus Christ. We may have to get creative in how we do this, but we can still find ways to love one another, serve one another, honor one another, and encourage one another.
- We have an opportunity to reset our idea of “church.” One good thing that is already coming out of this pandemic is it’s reminding us of the true nature and purpose of the church. Having a building to meet in is a blessing, but it is not a necessity in the Kingdom of God. The purposes of God keep marching forward because we are the church wherever we go, and we are re-awakening to that truth.
- We have an opportunity to make Jesus known. In times of crisis, people turn their hearts to God and begin to reexamine their priorities and their purpose in life. This presents a great opportunity for us to share Jesus with our friends, neighbors, and family. That person you’ve been wanting to share the gospel with is more open to that message right now than he or she may have ever been. Also, the people you want to reach are online in greater numbers right now, so use your social media platforms to share inspiring verses of Scripture and the teachings of Jesus.
- We have an opportunity to develop spiritual habits. Since we have more time at home, this is a perfect time to reestablish some spiritual habits in our lives. Why not use your extra time to become a daily Bible reader or a more consistent prayer warrior?
- We have an opportunity to start a time of family worship. At least once a week (or maybe even nightly) gather your family together and spend 30 minutes together in God’s Word. My family uses Discovery Bible Study, and you can find those resources here and here. You may want to use another resource or you may just want to keep it organic. However you choose to do it, this is the perfect time to start. Your family will grow closer to God and each other as a result.
- We have an opportunity to practice self-care. The social isolation we’re experiencing can increase anxiety, depression, and loneliness if we are not proactive and intentional with our time. In your “quarantine,” don’t forget to exercise, eat well, get plenty of sleep, read good books, play games with your family, etc. Keeping our bodies and minds active will help protect our emotional and mental health during this crisis.