The charity and compassion of early Christians was a frustration to the pagan Roman emperor Julian as plague ravaged Rome in the fourth century. Instead of running from the plague, Christians cared for the sick around them, often by simply providing food and water instead of abandoning them.
By all means, Christians today should take the recommended precautions to protect themselves from the coronavirus. Frequent hand washing, wearing face masks, and following CDC guidelines are all wise measures. Yet the Bible clearly teaches that we can’t be afraid to serve. And like those that have gone before us, we can’t think that our lives are our own 1 Corinthians 6:19Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own.
Where can Christians run to lay down their lives at this time?
It is encouraging that even today Christians are running toward danger in order to serve. A former colleague flew to New York City in early April. He is providing biomedical support at the Samaritans’ Purse field hospital in Central Park. He arrived on a one-way ticket to work 12-hour shifts for an indeterminate time that will be followed by a two-week quarantine.
Others around the country are filling shifts at homeless shelters and soup kitchens. Volunteer ranks have been thinned by a requirement that workers be under age 65, just at the time when the number of those seeking food assistance is significantly increasing. When there are human needs, there are plenty of places for Christians to run to serve.
Where can Christians give sacrificially at this time?
A worldwide plague also reminds us of eternity. Whether by COVID-19 or some other means, we will all die, should the Lord delay. On that day, our riches will be of no good to us. As Randy Alcorn has said, “You can’t take it with you – but you can send it on ahead.”
As believers, our first and primary obligation is, of course, to our local church. Yet as God has blessed us, and called us to a sacrificial life, other ministries and para-church organizations may be worthy of our support as well. This is especially true in such a time as this. You may not be a position to serve directly in the current need, but we are told to excel in the grace of giving 2 Corinthians 8:7But since you excel in everything—in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in complete earnestness and in the love we have kindled in you—see that you also excel in this grace of giving.. Are you?
During this timeout, discover significant opportunities to serve that fit who you are by completing a profile today on MissionNext. It is free and there is no obligation, except to the Lord.
Warren Allan Johnson, Communication Strategist
A communication strategist married to a teacher, Warren and his wife Tami are alumni of MissionNext’s The Journey Deepens retreat. Their love for what God is doing in the world has been shaped by an understanding of God’s glory described in Habakkuk 2:14, as well as short-term national and international trips. They attend Midland Evangelical Free Church in Midland, Michigan.