Thoughts on our Response to the Coronavirus

“…from everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked.” (Luke 12:48 NIV 1985)

In the preceding verses, Jesus speaks of being ready when the Son of Man comes, for one does not know when He will return. Peter wants to know if this message was just for them or for everyone. Jesus responds with another parable about what will happen when servants are not ready for their master’s return. He says they will suffer judgement from their master, because “to who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been trusted with much, much more will be asked.”

As I reflected on this short saying of Jesus, I can surely agree that I have been given much. Jesus gave His life for me and called me to serve Him. He gave me a clear but majestic task when he said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” (Matt. 28:19, 20 NIV 85)

In what ways am I being responsible for what I have received from Christ, during and after the coronavirus?

As followers of Christ, we have the great privilege of not only receiving eternal life, but we also are called upon to serve Christ as His ambassadors, proclaiming Christ and shepherding His Church. For everyone this is a great responsibility for which we will one day give an account. Jesus said, “…from everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked.” (Luke 12:48 NIV85) This saying caused me to consider, how am I stewarding what I have received from Christ during and after the coronavirus?

You may be wondering how this relates to our present situation with the coronavirus? The entire globe now faces the Covid-19 virus pandemic. Thousands have died and the number of cases is growing. Most of us are involved in some kind of quarantine, either self-made or by official orders from our government leaders. The danger is genuine. The steps being taken to stop the present growth of the virus is necessary. The pandemic will impact our lives for months to come or maybe even longer. The threat to ourselves and the world makes us ready and willing to do whatever is necessary to protect ourselves and others in our community.

This made me think of the impact of a much greater virus

This made me think of the impact of a much greater virus, one that is also a pandemic. It is sin, uncontained, causing death. Millions are dying without Christ. This is the greatest, most tragic pandemic of all. The number of people dying without Christ each year is approximately 37,688,999. Which is 103,258 per day, 4302 per hour, or 72 per minute.

In the light of this greater spiritual pandemic, and the global fallout as a result of the coronavirus, I would like to make five observations:

1. We, as disciples of Christ must consider what we are going to do in regard to proclaiming the Gospel and strengthening the Church now! Just yesterday, I received this note from Prairie Bible College with a headline that read, “A Call for Prairie Medical Alumni to be the Hands and Feet on the Frontlines of the COVID-19 Crisis in Italy.” The email when on to read, “One of our partners, Samaritan’s Purse is running a 68-bed respiratory care unit in Cremona, Italy, for COVID-19 patients. The mobile medical facility was airlifted to Italy on March 17 and opened March 20 to patients. Within a few days it was full.” Medical workers are responding and serving even though it may cost them their lives. Are there places where we may need to minister, where our lives may be put in jeopardy?

2. We must consider the cost we may be required to pay in regard to future ministry. Future ministry could bring physical challenges and costs that we have not been prepared to pay in the recent past. Unless the coronavirus dies out everywhere at once, there will be places that we need to minister, where the risk of exposure to danger may occur every day. Are we thinking about that? Are we preparing for such a reality, for the sake of saving lives for eternity? Paul speaking of Epaphroditus to the Philippian church said: “Welcome him in the Lord with great joy, and honor men like him, because he almost died for the work of Christ, risking his life to make up for the help you could not give me.”(Phil 2:29,30 NIV 85) May we emulate Epaphroditus and be willing to proclaim the Gospel and be ready to train Christ’s shepherds and flocks no matter what the personal cost.

3. The coronavirus pandemic should cause us to think more about our participation, and our responsibility in this greater spiritual pandemic. Jesus words make it clear that those who have much, much will be required. As in Christ’s parable, there are spiritual servants among us who are not acting as though their LORD will return any time soon. They are caught up in the things of normal life that are presently gratuitous, not living in a way in which Christs’ return seems to have any import to them. Therefore, the mandate He has given them seems not that important.

Are we among those individuals? Are we living as those that are dying without Christ are not really that important? Are we living in such a way, that we allow millions of God’s Shepherds around the globe to serve without the necessary resources to take care of His Sheep?

4. If the accruements of this life have become more important than Christ’s marching orders, are we willing to change? What will such change mean for you and me? How will that change dictate the use our time? How will it impact our resources, our living standards? What price will we have to pay in order to see a difference? Let us remember the Apostle Paul’s words, “Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.” (Phil. 3:12-14 NIV 85)

5. The challenge before us is great, even impossible without a change in the way we serve with other churches, other organizations, and other believers who to do not believe exactly like us. This may be the greatest challenge of all. I have said at times, “churches and Christian organizations do not play well together.” This is regrettable but too often true. Instead of serving our team and goals only, we ought to find creative ways, where we can humbly defer and serve other churches, other organizations, and other believers. This kind of unity would bring honor to Christ. It could result in a greater number of people being reached with the Gospel and a greater number of believers being shepherded well. What would it take from each of us for this kind of unity and cooperation to happen?

In John 17, Jesus prays, “My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one: I in them and you in me. May they be brought to complete unity to let the world know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.” (John 17:20-23 NIV 84) This kind of unity with our brothers and sisters around the globe would make it possible to proclaim Christ where the Gospel is not known and provide the equipping necessary for those that shepherd the flock of Christ.

These are just a few of my thoughts. What is God showing you in regard to present and future ministry? I would love to hear from you.

Grace & Peace,

Al Bridges
TOPIC Global Facilitator