There is nothing "good" about COVID-19. But what good can come from it? Instead of only hurting us, how might it help us?
I'm seeing some of the good; you probably are as well. Easter 2020 was like no other before. The buildings were empty, the message was online and millions of people heard the Good News of Jesus Christ.
This could possibly be the largest reach ever. Prayers continue for millions of salvations worldwide.
One of my prayers for Easter 2020 is that everyone who said yes to the person and message of Jesus would stick to their yes! I pray the Holy Spirit and the follow-up of the church would help each one connect in a genuine and ongoing relationship with their Savior.
The big question is, how will we cultivate the good while we fight the bad during COVID-19?
You may not feel like all five of these "good things" are within your grasp right now.
If only one or two, good! Go for it! It's not a scoreboard or performance-oriented—it's a way of living.
Here are five good things that each of us can cultivate to boost strength, resilience and hope:
- Generosity: The heart of generosity was core to the New Testament church and is still alive and well today.
Meeting the needs of others is part of the good about who we are as human beings. Even in our fallen nature, we intuitively know the right thing to do.
Now more than ever, we have an opportunity to do the right thing.
Generosity is on the rise, with no strings attached, and everyone can jump in.
One thing you probably read about was Tyler Perry buying groceries for thousands of seniors and at-risk individuals. He paid the bill at 29 Winn-Dixie stores and 44 Kroger stores. Thousands in Atlanta and New Orleans were blessed, to say the least.
That was certainly on a grand scale, but so many others are doing similar things for one person at a time.
—Families are helping each other cover bills.
—Neighbors are sharing more than before.
—Churches are stepping up big time to do all they can through benevolence.
The heart and hands of generosity are bringing hope to many in this difficult season.
- Community: There is a strong and growing sense that we re all in this together.
Relationships are best in person, but we can still experience a sense of genuine connection through digital platforms.
In the last few weeks, I've enjoyed some of the most meaningful phone conversations, social media connections and FaceTime chats that I can remember in a long time.
When community and unity increase, division and discord decrease.
Things like division and judging still exist, but those who live there are not extended much credibility.
People are looking for ways to connect, and it's not just in response to isolation. It's a deeper recognition of our need for each other.
When we travel through our days at break-neck speeds conquering our to-do lists, it's possible to lose sight of what together means. It's difficult to be together when we are always in motion.
We now have the opportunity to find community in the most unique circumstances. It's not easy with social distancing, but we are finding new ways.
- Clarity: I don't like isolation and "shelter in place" any more than you do, but it's teaching me some things.
My schedule is (surprisingly) very full, but it moves at a slower pace right now. That just means I'm not running from one thing to the next. I'm not driving very much, and my transitions are more deliberate.
That time and space allow me to focus better on what is truly important.
—I'm a new grandfather, "Papa," in our family. My granddaughter, Anza, has stolen my heart at just 2 months old. Anza is a beautiful reminder of what is important.
—My friend Gary, in ICU on a ventilator, reminds me daily about what matters as I pray for him.
—Jesus meeting me in my prayer room in deep and meaningful ways keeps me centered on what matters to God.
None of these stories represent something we didn't care about before, but they all bring clarity right now.
Clarity about what is important, about what matters. And here's the surprise: Everything that matters, all that is important, in every single situation, is people.
There are no exceptions. It's people!
OK, that's not a surprise.
But it's real, and it's powerful. In fact, it can be life-changing if we intentionally do whatever it takes to continue to live out this truth that we've always known.
That's what's hard. When we get to the "other side," and we will, what will we remember about what we have learned, and how will we live differently?
Maybe, like me, it requires nothing more than slowing down, even just a little.
- Creativity: The creativity and ingenuity that are rising up during COVID-19 are incredible.
Researchers and scientists are putting their best minds and energies into finding a cure.
Creative and resourceful thinking are producing homemade masks that help save lives.
One wedding was held at home with just immediate family, and everyone who would have attended drove by their house at an appointed time and honked. That must have been fun!
Our family celebrated my mother-in-law's birthday by all standing outside in their backyard, holding signs and singing happy birthday!
This unprecedented time is an incredible opportunity for the church to rise up in creativity to reach people for Jesus and help them mature in their faith.
There are so many possibilities for creativity and innovation, including:
—Family devotions online.
—Next-gen ministries online.
—New follow-up systems for guests and those who commit to Christ.
—Better streaming capacities.
—More productive social media.
—New methods for leader meetings.
—Innovative ways for training.
And the list goes on.
Two good things about all this creativity in the church:
—Some of it will stick as a new way of doing things even after we get to go back to our church buildings and worship together again.
—We will remember we can do more than we think, and better than we imagined when the heat is on!
- Sacrifice: I am humbled by so many first responders and especially our health care workers. They are on the front lines and risking their own safety and welfare for the lives of others.
You probably know a doctor, nurse or hospital staff member. Thousands of us are praying for them daily, asking God to protect them as they serve others.
You may not be called or equipped to serve on the front lines. But we can all do something, from prayer to making homemade masks.
It's not just in the field of health; the economy also benefits by sacrifice. Delta Airlines announced that approximately 10,000 employees have voluntarily taken unpaid leave. This leave or furlough is a double-edged economic sword but clearly helps Delta get through the crisis.
I pray your job is secure and even prosperous, but if you are employed, you may have the opportunity to help someone else.
Sacrifice is a deep thing to consider.
Sacrifice is not about performance, guilt or a scoreboard. It's between you and God. This may or not be your moment for sacrifice; just be attentive to God.
We are all in this together. I hope this encourages you to help increase what is good.
Dan Reiland is the executive pastor at 12Stone Church in Lawrenceville, Georgia. He previously partnered with John Maxwell for 20 years, first as executive pastor at Skyline Wesleyan Church in San Diego, then as vice president of leadership and church development at INJOY.
For the original article, visit danreiland.com.
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