When I was a kid, my Dad, who was born in 1919, would tell us tales of life going to school in a one-room schoolhouse and walking there 5 miles in a driving snowstorm, uphill both ways, and having to make a fire in the boiler to heat the classroom! Amazing stuff! Dad had great stories!
The time in which you and I are living is equally amazing! But for totally different reasons. I know what you are thinking! “I’d rather NOT go through a pandemic and all the things associated with it!” I understand that one-hundred percent! It is difficult and filled with many challenges. But…if God’s Word is to be believed and trusted with everything we are and have, then EVEN pandemics have their role.
Our children’s minister at our church recently led our children in a discussion trusting God even when we don’t understand. Obeying God even when it doesn’t make sense was her theme using the incident of Abraham and Isaac (Genesis 22) as an illustration for our lives today. Nothing much has changed for the person who follows Jesus!
Being a Christian in the age of social distancing has its challenges BUT, it has its blessings at the same time. We have time to develop godly habits of reading God’s word and meditating on what we are looking at. We can use modern technology to keep informed of what is happening in our church through different social media platforms. Our churches are even able to carry on the ministry of the preaching of the Word, the celebration of the Lord’s Table, and baptism as well as, training in different areas of ministry. Our church has been meeting to pray with and for one another through this technology as well. Our denomination is connecting with the churches in providing encouragement to pastors and church leaders.
The New Testament gives us 34 ways to encourage one another in our walk with the Lord. Ideally, these involved person-to-person contact, eyeball to eyeball, as it were. During the COVID 19 crisis people need these 19 elements to a greater degree. I would encourage you, my dear reader, to read over the following list, think about people in your local church, and how you can serve them in these ways.
The One Anothers in the New Testament
|Love one another – John 13:34||Give preference to one another in honour – Romans 12:10||Be devoted to one another in brotherly love – Romans 12:10|
|Be of the same mind to one another – Romans 12:16, 15:5||Stop judging one another – Romans 14:13||Pursue the building up of one another – Romans 14:19|
|Accept one another – Romans 15:7||Admonish one another – Romans 15:14||Greet one another – Romans 16:16|
|Wait for one another – 1 Cor. 11:33||Care for one another – 1 Cor. 12:25||Serve one another through love – Galatians 5:13|
|Bear one another’s burdens – Galatians 6:2||Show forbearance one to another – Ephesians 4:2||Be kind to one another – Ephesians 4:32|
|Forgive one another – Ephesians 4:32||Speak to one another in psalms, hymns and spiritual songs – Eph. 5:19||Be subject to one another – Ephesians 5:21|
|Regard one another as more important – Philippians 2:3||Not lie to one another (Colossians 3:9)||Teach one another (Colossians 3:16)|
|Comfort one another (I Thessalonians 4:18)||Encourage one another (I Thessalonians 5:11)||Be at peace with one another (I Thessalonians 5:13)|
|Pursue good to one another (I Thessalonians 5:15)||Exhort one another (Hebrews 3:13)||Spur one another on (Hebrews 10:24)|
|Do not speak against one another (James 4:11)||Do not complain against one another (James 5:9)||Confess your sins to one another (James 5:16)|
|Pray for one another (James 5:16)||Be hospitable to one another (I Peter 4:9)||Clothe yourself w/ humility toward one another (I Peter 5:5)|
|Wash one another’s feet (John 13:14)|
These are definitely difficult days that we are living in! We face many challenges as far as our mental and physical health is concerned, not to mention our spiritual health. But God has given us what we need to build on these tough times lives that will reflect his glory and his priorities.
Make sure, my Christian friend, that you are continuing to practice the spiritual disciplines of reading the Word of God, prayer, and loving one another. Take time to check in with those who need encouragement (not only your Pastor’s job!).
God bless you, friends, as we continue to be and do what he has called us to!
For His Glory,
Pastor Bill Finch