Last week I noted that often a person’s first reaction during difficult times, whether personally, nationally or even globally, is fear. In the face of a global pandemic, fear is on display by how people are reacting; hoarding toilet paper is perhaps the meme most associated with this fear.
I would guess the second reaction that you and I may have is helplessness. Entire countries are being laid low by COVID-19. The infection and death rates caused by this invisible enemy soars daily. The stock market is spiraling down, taking the entire world’s economy down with it. Other than practicing “social distancing” and…well…hoarding toilet paper, what can we do about all this? We feel helpless.
The good news is we can overcome this feeling of helplessness by plugging into the Creator of the universe. If we are abiding in the Lord Jesus Christ (see John chapter 15), He gives us the power to act, even in times of crisis. But, remember, this is not something we can do in our own power. Abiding in Jesus means digging into God’s Word daily and communicating with Him through prayer.
So, given that we have this power at our disposal, what do we do with it? We exercise it by seeking to help others during these unprecedented times.
Pastor Dean Tomlinson has created an initiative called “3-2-1”. In short, he challenges us each week to:
- Pray for 3 people
- Reach out to 2 people
- Meet the needs of 1 person
First, we can pray. Pray for our nation, our leaders, our medical workers and all of the families who have been affected by COVID-19, either medically or economically. But as Dean states, let’s make an effort to pray for at least three people that God puts on our hearts. To pray for someone, we need to know what their needs are, so…
Secondly, contact at least two people each week. Call them, text them, email them or snail mail them, but contact them. Get to know them, invest your time with them, pray with them, disciple them, laugh with them, cry with them. Sometimes, though, just contacting someone is not enough, so…
Thirdly, meet the needs of at least one person a week. As Dean points out, these needs could be physical, emotional, financial or spiritual. Bring them food, help them with a bill or be a listening ear. In short, let’s be the church!
For me, one of the most challenging portions of scripture is found in Matthew 25:31-46, commonly known as Jesus’ “Parable of the Sheep and the Goats”. In this parable, God, in essence, separates the genuine children of God from the pretenders. He tells His true children, “Come, you who are blessed by My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave Me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave Me something to drink, I was a stranger and you took Me in, I was naked and you clothed Me, I was sick and you looked after Me, I was in prison and you visited Me.” They replied, “Lord, when did we see You hungry and feed You, or thirsty and give You something to drink? When did we see You a stranger and take You in, or naked and clothe You? When did we see You sick or in prison and visit You?”
God then states this: “Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of Mine, you did for Me.”
How convicting! And now is the time to put these words into action. Let’s be the hands and feet of Jesus…it’s the best remedy for helplessness.
Tim Carman is an Elder at Amazing Grace Bible Church in Kahoka, MO.