Current Dangers & Opportunities
Encouragement from Elder Jon Fredette
Spoken on Sunday March 22, 2020
Elder Jon shared 3 dangerous behaviors we can start exhibiting and 3 opportunities we have as followers of Christ during the COVID-19 outbreak.
1. We Panic.
Panic is what happens when we give in to fear, and fear takes control of us when we let down the shield of faith. Proverbs tells us that the fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom. If we don’t point our fear toward God, we will place it on our circumstances.
Matthew 10:28 28 And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell.
2. We Become Self-focused
Either as individuals, or as a church
Am I going to get the virus? Am I going to have enough toilet paper? It’s natural to think about how to take care of ourselves and our families, but it’s not healthy for us to keep looking inward for too long.
Matthew 28:18-20 18 And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
The last words Jesus gave us before He left this Earth included words of comfort, but it was basically a command to reach outside of ourselves to other people. This passage is where our church’s mission statement is drawn from: Reaching the lost, Making Disciples, and Renewing our Neighborhood in the name of Jesus Christ. I can’t do those things effectively when my main focus is on myself.
3. We Become Complacent.
This is a longer term consideration. We don’t know how long it’s going to last, but if it’s months, we could end up falling into a pattern of getting comfortable with staying away from church, and forgetting that as Christians, our goal in life should be to complete the mission God has given us.
Proverbs 12:11 Whoever works his land will have plenty of bread, but he who follows worthless pursuits lacks sense.
How we work our land needs to change for this season to something different than we have ever experienced. But let’s continue to be faithful in that work, and not become focused on the “worthless pursuits” that are available to us at the click of a button.
1. To Take Advantage of a “Sabbath Rest”.
John 15:4-5 4 Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. 5 I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.
People have 3 kinds of jobs: work at home, your hours are cut, and your hours have increased. For those of us who have found that life has slowed down a bit during this season, take advantage of that time to dwell in God’s presence. Will you ever regret doing that?
2. To Look for Ways to Bless Other People.
Galatians 6:10 10 So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith.
We might need to be a little careful about this one. But take time to look out for others, and this verse says that doesn’t end with your church family, but it does start there. So call each other, check in, ask people if they need anything. And connect with your neighbors. Be willing to take risks for other people, but do it prayerfully, not recklessly.
3. To Show the World what True Christian Faith Looks like!
Don’t lose your joy. People everywhere are trying to figure out how to respond to this crisis. This probably isn’t the end of the world, but sooner or later the end of all things will come. God has that in His control, and as a Christian, you’re protected and secure. We need to live that out with our attitudes and actions, to show the world what faith really is. We’re all under a certain amount of pressure right now. But if our faith is only what we practice when we’re not under pressure, then it’s not real faith.
James 1:2-4 2 Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, 3 for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. 4 And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.