Moments of crisis reveal who we really are.
Christians are no stranger to pandemics. From the moment Jesus reached out and touched a man full of leprosy, the call to heal the sick has been clear...
Love your neighbor as yourself.
And over the years, Christians have taken Jesus’ example to heart no matter what plague or illness has come upon their neighbors.
In the 16th century, Europe was ravaged by a Black Plague which killed up to 60% of its population. Martin Luther was given a chance to flee. But he stood firm because he wanted to care for the poor. He encouraged other Christians to do the same, not by asking What would Jesus do? but by asking…
What would you do if it was Jesus?
“If it were Christ or his mother who were laid low by illness everybody would become a servant or helper. Everyone would want to be bold and fearless; nobody would flee but everyone would come running … If you wish to serve Christ and to wait on Him, very well, you have your sick neighbour close at hand.”
This is our moment.
We have a chance to love our neighbors well — no matter if we’re practicing social distance, self-quarantined, or living in a state that is currently on lockdown.
Here are 11 practical ways to live out the Gospel today:
1.Submit to governing authorities
The Center for Disease Control has a ton of guidelines on how to slow the spread of disease.
Wash your hands often.
Avoid close contact.
Stay home if you’re sick.
Take this moment seriously and reduce the risk of infection, especially among our most vulnerable neighbors.
2.Run errands for the elderly
Older people, and people with pre-existing medical conditions (such as asthma, diabetes, heart disease) appear to be more vulnerable to becoming severely ill with the virus.
The next time you need to go to the grocery store or you’re ordering a shipment of toiletries, call up a neighbor you know may be at greater risk and ask if they need anything.
3.Serve healthcare workers
In times like these, doctors and nurses are on the front lines for shifts that can go nearly 24 hours at a time. And they need our help.
Pray for them.
Give meals to them.
Pay for their childcare.
These men and women are battling to keep people alive everyday by serving as our first responders against the coronavirus. Serve them any way you can.
4. Break bread… with social distance
Many restaurants are still offering takeout and delivery options — especially local restaurants owned and employed by members of your community.
Ask a neighboring family if they’d like a meal and tell them you’d be happy to leave it on their porch. You’d be surprised just how effective this can be in opening a door to a long-lasting friendship.
5. Buy gift cards
Speaking of locally owned restaurants and shops, many of them are shutting down temporarily due to the coronavirus. Any shutdown wreaks havoc on a local business and it can leave people unemployed in a matter of weeks or even days.
If there’s a place right around the corner you like to eat or a store that offers something valuable to the community, consider buying a gift card. It will get cash into their pockets and give you something to look forward to after life has returned to normal.
6. Learn about video conferencing
There are countless free options when it comes to group video chats and seeing a friendly face can be a real comfort to men and women who live alone — or those with big families and a little bit of cabin fever!
Use any of these to keep connected with friends from church by hosting prayer nights, small group Bible studies, or just regular chats over coffee.
7. Mow someone’s lawn
Many of the men and women who are most vulnerable during this pandemic already had to rely on landscaping companies to mow and edge their lawns. But those businesses may be choosing to self-quarantine or their employees could be sick themselves.
Ask if there’s anything you can do around the yard to help — mowing, edging, raking, and taking out the trash are probably all chores that haven’t been done in a while.
8. Do not lay up (toiletries) for yourself
Do you have extra toilet paper, soap, hand sanitizer, dishwashing detergent, or diapers?
Instead of tearing down your barns and building bigger ones for items you might not even use, give out of your abundance to neighbors who may be running out.
9. Play board games online
It’s important to stay connected with family and friends in fun ways too. There aren’t a lot of board games you can play online, but my brother and his girlfriend asked if we wanted to play Trivial Pursuit this week and I thought it was such a great idea.
Do some digging into your own stash of games and see if there’s one you can play over the phone or in a video chat.
10. Love your family
What closer neighbor do you have than those in your home right now? This is a transformative time for our country and our world — and it can be the same for your family!
With all the extra time together, consider how your family’s rhythm looked before the coronavirus and see if there’s something you can change to glorify God in a new way.
Sing songs together.
Pick up some instruments.
Talk about the stories in the Bible.
Carve out time to pray as a family.
11. Keep trying no matter what
This is going to be a very tough time for most anyone reading this. Families will need to have extra patience with one another. Low wage workers may have their hours cut. Elderly men and women could go long stretches without any visitors.
Even if a neighbor refuses help at first, ask again later. And if someone says they don’t have time for a phone call, try again in a few days.
It can seem awkward putting yourself out there again and again, but your practical acts of kindness could make a huge difference in someone’s life.
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