Profound Needs = Profound Opportunity
It’s not every day that I get to be in a conference call with a senator, but I was invited into call yesterday with Florida Senator, Marco Rubio. In an effort to dispel bad information (that is running rampant through church circles) and to offer encouragement for the strategic role the Church can play right now, he offered the following:
1) Let’s not be arrogant and say “we know” when we don’t. Let’s stay humble. So many people are speaking with a tone of “I know…” when there is still so very much that even the most experienced medical professionals do not yet understand.
2) Let’s love our neighbors. This is an opportunity to reinforce credibility when our neighbors are being fearful or selfish. Because of Jesus, as His people, we can be hopeful and loving, even sacrificial in a time where it will stand out!
3) Let’s use technology creatively. Communicate!! Streaming is the way to go for the next few weeks. It enables us to be good neighbors as we respect public health warnings and still communicate. And people NEED to hear about the hope we have in Christ.
4) Let’s not forget the vulnerable. Elderly and financially stressed people are all around us. Let’s love them well. We can serve in simple ways – making grocery runs, picking up prescriptions, handling errands or chores. And this will further demonstrate the love of Jesus
5) Let’s believe that this is an opportunity if it strips away our infatuation with the trivial. Life and death are being pressed to the forefront of the conversation. Our neighbors have, until now, been able to busy themselves, entertain themselves, or numb themselves with sports, movies, or just time “out.” Now we’re being forced into solitude, so let’s be there with a greater perspective and Christlike character!
So in light of this good advice, I would like to encourage us, as a body deeply loved by Jesus, to be on mission. Please be attentive to wise advisories about your own health. Think less of self-protection and think more of what it means to love our neighbors well. Be attentive to your hygiene and health advisories so that we don’t (carelessly) infect the vulnerable.
BE the Church!! Take part in corporate worship by live streaming this Sunday at 10:15a. Stay engaged and in touch with the members of your community group (or student ministry, or Campus Outreach). You can text, call, email, Facetime easily, so there’s no reason to be isolated or to let your brothers or sisters struggle in isolation. Stay spiritually fed – in prayer, in Scripture daily (Community Bible Reading, CBR, etc.) so that you can fight back against fear in your own heart and in the hearts of your neighbors. SHARE freely! This is no time to hoard. Prepare eagerly, but so that you are positioned to help care for people in trouble (I can think of no time in my life when you could get so much credibility from freely sharing toilet paper or Clorox wipes… truly!). Stay attentive to the vulnerable – and at Trinity, that really means our oldest members. They are likely more pressed, more isolated, and at risk. So whoever is in your sphere – parents, grandparents, or just neighbors, be sure to stay up on how they’re doing.
And please give! If you are on a salary vs. hourly wages – keep supporting Trinity financially. We are set up for online giving, or if you’re old school like me, you can send in your giving by mail. I would easily gauge that our staff is working more hours, not less. And there are more needs occurring, not less. Your financial support is critically strategic to help us get our work done. But don’t stop at supporting our church. If you have hourly-wage workers you know who are facing reduced (or even ceased) work, help them! Cover their dinner. See if they need help. Buy their groceries. Be eager to share as Jesus has taught us – “Freely you have received; freely give.”
Lastly, I will not tell you, “Everything’s going to be fine.” Quite the opposite, I have no idea what’s ahead. But I believe we should be ready for hardship. Jesus warned His disciples ahead of His own suffering. This is NOT so that they would worry; it was so that they’d be prepared. So let’s be prepared. And we have every reason to NOT fear. We have every resource in Christ to help us navigate agony with His joy, by His indwelling Spirit, and together as His family. And then, as people all around us are devastated by fear because the idol of their convenient circumstances is being crushed, we have something incomparable to offer them – joy, security, sufficiency and love in Jesus!
Let’s be the Church of Jesus.
Things to pray fo
- Continued humility. Read 1 Peter 5:5-11, and ask the Lord to help you humble yourself before Him and trust His promise that He cares for you and that He will “restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you.”
- Trust in God’s sovereignty. Ask Him to help you know and rest in His absolute power, love and wisdom. He is the Sovereign One, holy and incomparably over galaxies and microbes.
- Awareness. Ask the Father to help you see the opportunities all around you to love and serve your neighbors, with Jesus’ love.
- Love and courage. Ask the Holy Spirit to fill you with His love, and that He would help you confidently move toward everyone in your life, especially in this time of hardship and fear.