Literally nothing in this world makes sense anymore. As I look around I see a world gone mad. Businesses are closed. Stores are empty. Schools are shut down. Churches are turning their own people away. It is as if we are a country under foreign occupation. The sad state of affairs is that we are, we are under occupation of fear. How should Christ’s bride respond to this? I have a few thoughts.
First, we must recognize that fear and panic is nothing less than sin.
“‘I say to you, My friends, do not be afraid of those who kill the body and after that have no more that they can do. But I will warn you whom to fear: fear the One who, after He has killed, has authority to cast into hell; yes, I tell you, fear Him! Are not five sparrows sold for two cents? Yet not one of them is forgotten before God. Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Do not fear; you are more valuable than many sparrows.’” – Luke 12:4-7
The Christian is commanded to fear only God. That fear is a holy reverence that slams us on our faces in recognition of His holiness and our unworthiness. To fear is to worship. We worship God alone. To fear the world around us is to openly doubt God’s sovereignty and ability to control His creation.
Second, we must recognize that greed is sin.
“Then He said to them, ‘Beware, and be on your guard against every form of greed; for not even when one has an abundance does his life consist of his possessions.” And He told them a parable, saying, “The land of a rich man was very productive. And he began reasoning to himself, saying, ‘What shall I do, since I have no place to store my crops?’ Then he said, ‘This is what I will do: I will tear down my barns and build larger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods. And I will say to my soul, “Soul, you have many goods laid up for many years to come; take your ease, eat, drink and be merry.”’ But God said to him, ‘You fool! This very night your soul is required of you; and now who will own what you have prepared?’ So is the man who stores up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God.’” – Luke 12:15-21
To hoard material goods is not only a great way to increase the panic around us, it again discounts God as the source of all things. The one who hoards is not only one who has too much confidence in himself, but he is also one who shows contempt for his neighbor. For the Christian, we not only look to Christ to provide as He always has, but we also have His church. Just as in the early days of the church we must come together in order to care for one another, share with one another, and worship with each other.
Third, we must recognize that neglect of our duty is sin.
“‘You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt has become tasteless, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled under foot by men. You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden; nor does anyone light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.’” – Matthew 5:13-16
“‘A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.’” – John 13:34-35
This is a tremendous opportunity to spread the gospel of Jesus Christ! But how can we do that when we're hunkered down in our bunkers with our stockpiles of TP and bottled water?
The world needs to witness our lack of fear and they must be told Who we fear. They must see our love for one another, and they must be told why we love each other (because He first loved us!). Anything less than this is disobedience to the One who has called us, redeemed us, justified us, and sanctified us.
Each individual body will have to carefully consider what obedience to Christ looks like in their own contexts. I am writing from southern Idaho where the threat of this virus is next to non-existent. The latest update from the CDC as of 0800 this morning confirms only 9 cases of the virus statewide. Statistically speaking, we are in much greater danger of dying in a car crash on the way to the store to hoard toilet paper than we are of succumbing to this illness. So as of right now, we are not suspending our church services. Not all churches are in the same context as we are. Their elders are going to have to make those calls. But here we stand. We can do no other.
But for the average Christian, take something into consideration. If we actually believe that man cannot live by bread alone but by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God, then why would you risk a trip to the grocery store and not risk gather with Christ’s body?
Of course, we must state the obvious: If you’re sick, stay home. If you are in a compromised position and are more susceptible to infection, stay home. But if there is no reason to keep you from the body other than fear, repent and join us as we worship our great God.
Let us be resolved to be salt and light so that men will see our good works and give glory to our Father who is in heaven. Soli Deo Gloria!