Christians have been the people who have stepped in to serve with the love of Christ in many disasters in the past, and the coronavirus is no different. But what can we do? Here are seven ideas to help you think of ways you can serve.
We are told in the Bible to “pray without ceasing.” What does this mean? Should it feel like someone is interrupting our time with God whenever they speak to us? I don’t think so. But we can take time to pray and reflect regularly throughout the day. Ask God for worldwide healing in the name of Jesus. When you hear an ambulance, say a quick prayer, either silent or out loud. And when someone shares a need with you – rather than say “I’ll pray about that,” and then forget like I do, ask them if it’s ok to pray for them right then and there.
Hoarding is never encouraged in the Bible. We are told often to share. In Luke 3:11 it says, ”Anyone who has two shirts should share with the one who has none, and anyone who has food should do the same.” When you see a need – if you have the means to fill it, do so. I remember the panic that set in with some people prior to Y2K. There were people who were buying guns and a one year supply of food for their family. What were they going to do? Shoot people who needed food? I hope not. Just like God fed His people in the wilderness with manna, He could do the same for us today.
Maybe it’s not food that people need, but someone to pick up their medicine, or a babysitter, or a place to live. I’m fortunate in that my income as a teacher has not stopped during this difficult time. The families of my students mostly work in the service and construction industries. I feel for them. I don’t know how this is going to affect them. I pray and weep for them, and as I am able I’ll care for them. There are MANY industries and small businesses that will suffer during this time. Care for those people.
God has called me to be a teacher. With about 12 hours notice, that role changed dramatically, and who knows how long it will be like this. But that doesn’t mean I’m no longer a teacher. I am using this time to write articles, create online courses, and to learn how to be a better teacher. Think creatively about how you can use the extra time you have.
One lady I know is really taking her new role as a home-schooling mom seriously. She has her kids working on their assignments and is taking them on hikes for their PE classes. Maybe she will find out she really enjoys teaching and want to pursue it more!
If you find yourself with extra time, think of how you can use the gifts you have to serve others. Maybe you are great at cooking cheap meals. Post some videos showing others how to do it.
5. Fear Not
Perfect love drives out fear. The reality is that none of us is guaranteed another minute. We don’t know when our life will end. We don’t know when we might lose a job – or a house – or a fortune. We can do our best to prevent these things, but we must continually put our trust in God our Provider.
When my four kids were little, we often took road trips from Colorado to Virginia to visit our families. To save money, we packed sandwiches, water, and snacks (and probably tissue and toilet paper too). Although sometimes a child worried about their special toy making it onto our caravan, not once were my kids worried about whether there would be enough food. They knew and trusted Mom and Dad would take care of that. We have a Daddy who loves His kids even more than I love mine.
6. Be Ready with an Answer
Not an answer to why the coronavirus happened, but an answer to “How do you keep so calm in the face of this pandemic?” The answer is “peace that passes understanding” that comes from faith and trust in Jesus. This is why #5 is so important. When others are hoarding and you are sharing, people may ask what makes you different. Why do you care when others don’t?
Make sure this sharing comes naturally and is not forced. Nobody likes to have faith thrown upon them like a multi-level marketing spiel. Let the Holy Spirit do His work.
7. Don’t demonize
It can be so easy to blame what is happening on sin in the world. Truth be told, we are ALL guilty of sin. If I am ever standing near someone who prays, “God, give me what I deserve,” I am going to RUN! We all deserve judgment for what we have done, but to read judgment into every bad thing that happens is a dangerous line to tread (but one that is “normal” for humans). In Jesus’ day, handicaps and disasters were often looked at as some type of judgment from God. Upon seeing a blind man, Jesus’ disciples asked Him who had sinned – the man or his parents – to cause him to be blind. Jesus answered neither. The man was born blind so God’s healing power could be displayed.
James Divine is a full time music teacher and part-time pastor. He believes we are all called into full time ministry, some within the walls of the church, others in business and government. He lives in Colorado Springs with his wife of 33 years. They have four grown children and 6 grandchildren. He can be found spending time with his wife wiping down the world with wipes, hiking, biking, and SUPing (just kidding about the first one). Find out more at www.jamesdivine.net.