A Message of Comfort, Care and Compassion by Greg Albrecht
Better to light a candle than curse the darkness
Every day for the past few weeks we have all heard increasingly discouraging news related to the coronavirus pandemic. Each news cycle informs and cautions us about further restrictions. It seems that the “walls are closing in on us” and our world is shrinking. We are also seeing and experiencing what can happen when fear turns into panic and every-person-for-themselves greed.
Can we picture Jesus pushing and shoving his way to get a few items left on a grocery store shelf? As Christ-followers, while we should and must take care of our necessities, and be careful not to take risks that can be detrimental to our health, we also know that storing up treasures on this earth is not our primary concern.
Jesus never gave a parable that concludes with the lesson – “the person who dies with the most toilet paper in their supply closet will surely enter the kingdom of heaven”! What a relief it is to follow Christ and realize that our future is not in our hands. God will provide for us just as he does for the flowers of the field and the birds of the air.
… Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat; or about your body, what you will wear. For life is more than food, and the body more than clothes. Consider the ravens: They do not sow or reap, they have no storeroom or barn; yet God feeds them. And how much more valuable you are than birds! – Luke 12:22-24
Remember the parable Jesus told of the rich fool? Because the rich fool had so much abundance he lacked storage facilities to store it all – he built bigger and better barns for his earthly riches (as I studied this parable in the light of current events I could not help but think of people in impoverished “third world” countries shaking their heads as they see video footage of Americans and Canadians leaving grocery stores with huge quantities of toilet paper!).
The rich fool said to himself, “You have plenty of grain laid up for many years. Take life easy; eat, drink and be merry.” But God said to him, “You fool! This very night your life will be demanded from you. Then who will get what you have prepared for yourself?” – Luke 12:19-20
What can we learn during this pandemic? How can we serve as a Christ-follower during this world wide emergency? Sadly, emergencies, catastrophes and pandemics can bring out the worst in people, so that servants of Jesus, who will light a candle rather than cursing the darkness, play an important role in the midst of perplexing worries and fears.
As we focus on the love, mercy and grace of God we look to Jesus to live in us in such a way that we love others in his name. We are hearing wonderful stories of healthcare professionals who are putting their lives on the line. The kingdom of God is not primarily focused on self- preservation in the here and now. The kingdom of God is illustrated and made known through the lives of self-sacrificial Christ-followers who serve others in the name of Jesus.
Now is the time my brothers and sisters to light a candle rather than curse the darkness! May each of us ask what we can we do at this time of national emergency. May we look to Jesus to empower us as we respond to distress and anxiety all around us.
Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has been pleased to give you the kingdom – Luke 12:32
1) Help others with their fears and worries by talking with them. You don’t need to preach to people – just listen and reassure. Remind them that this too will pass. Encourage them and give them hope by telling them we will get through these challenges together.
2) If you know someone in a senior or assisted care facility who is prohibited to have visitors, call them on the phone to cheer them up. Tell them God loves them. Let them know they are not forgotten. People in physical isolation need not be isolated from the love of God, which lives in us through Christ Jesus.
3) Consider how you might be able to help through small and random acts of kindness. Smile – be warm and considerate. Don’t wait to be asked – ask neighbors how you can help them. Perhaps you can prepare more food than you need and deliver an extra portion or two to your neighbor. If you are getting ready to brave long lines and crowds at the grocery store or pharmacy, ask a neighbor if you can pick something up for them.
This pandemic must not cause us, as Christ followers, to hop on our political hobby horses “cursing the darkness,” blaming others for what we believe they should have done… or not done … but rather we concentrate on ways we might “light a candle” in the name of Jesus. As Christ followers we don’t put our faith in stockpiling supplies, nor we do sit around self-righteously condemning those who do. By God’s grace we don’t waste time cursing the darkness, but consider how we might light more candles.
May we look for ways to give, help and serve in Jesus’ name. May we be filled with the mind and attitude of our Lord and Savior and be devoted to the interests of others (Philippians 2:4).
With deep and abiding love for you all, my brothers and sisters in Christ – we will get through this trial together! May we place our focus, trust and faith in and on Jesus, who is our all in all!
Your fellow Christ follower
President, Plain Truth Ministries