WEDNESDAY’S WORD | 08.18.2021

I hope and pray this day is finding each one of you well and safe wherever you are.

We have entered into another dangerous time concerning the COVID-19 pandemic, now we are facing a huge surge from the Delta variant. By all accounts, this variant is much more transmissible, and more difficult to treat. We have seen hospitalizations rise, in some cases by 600%. Clay Jenkins, Dallas County Judge, has stated openly that pediatric ICU beds are at full capacity. He went on to say, a child would have to die in order for another sick child to have a bed. This is horrific news.

I know we have come through a very trying time in regard to this pandemic and social isolation. I know we had grown tired of the measures put in place to keep us safe. I know we have all been wanting and desiring a return to normalcy where we can congregate with family and friends in relative safety.

There has been a huge push to get everyone vaccinated against COVID-19. This vaccine will not necessarily prevent one from contracting the virus, but it will lessen the severity of its effects. It does not prevent one from spreading the virus should a person come in contact with it. To lessen the transmissibility of the virus we have been asked to get vaccinated and to wear our masks. I know that’s inconvenient. I know we want to be free from these protocols. I know we are getting tired of all of this, I know I am for sure.

Here’s the thing, we are followers of Christ. Paul encourages us in Galatians 6:9 to redouble our efforts when we feel our motivation lagging. He says, “Do not grow weary in well-doing, for in due season we will reap if we do not give up.” We have the ability to keep ourselves, family and neighbors safe if we will stay the course that has been set out for us.

We have a tendency to only look at what we want, or what is good only for us. In that kind of thinking, we are not caring for our neighbor, we are not doing what we as followers of Christ have been instructed to do.

Let’s look at a few passages.

In Philippians 2:4 we are told, “Instead of each person watching out for their own good, watch out for what is better for others.” This is not saying to neglect what is good for ourselves and family, but it is saying when we place the good of our community first, we are caring for self, family, and others.

In Hebrews 13:16 we find, “Don’t forget to do good and to share what you have because God is pleased with these kinds of sacrifices.” I read recently, “One of the ways you can demonstrate your love for the Lord is to be compassionate and caring towards those you encounter here on Earth. Even small gestures can mean a great deal.” Small gestures like remembering to wear a mask when in the presence of others, doing our part to keep others safe.

In Proverbs 3:27 we are encouraged, “Don’t withhold good from someone who deserves it, when it is in your power to do so.” We have the power to do good by being vaccinated, encouraging and helping others to get vaccinated as well, and by following simple protocols. Lives are at stake, and we as those who follow Jesus should want to do all the good for our neighbors that we can.

You will remember the scene in Matthew 25:44-45, “Then they will reply, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison and didn’t do anything to help you?’ Then he will answer, ‘I assure you that when you haven’t done it for one of the least of these, you haven’t done it for me.” This is part of a discussion about how we will be judged on judgment day. You’ll remember Jesus said that on one hand were the sheep, and the other the goats. The sheep will be judged righteous, and the goats will be judged unrighteous. I don’t know about you, but I want to be standing with the sheep and not the goats.

Finally, let’s consider what Jesus said in John 15:12, “This is my commandment: love each other just as I have loved you.” Jesus loved us so much he would go all the way to the cross and the grave so that we might know the depth and breadth of his love. Can we love this way? No, we’re not Jesus, but we follow him and God has imprinted this kind of love on us, we simply need to reflect it to those around us.

Masks are no fun. I recently flew to Atlanta and had to wear a mask from the time I stepped into the airport until I landed and walked out of the airport. You know what? It wasn’t something I wanted to do. It wasn’t something I enjoyed. It wasn’t something that was comfortable. But it was something I could do and feel confident I was giving my best to those around me. It was something I could do that gave a sense of safety and security to my fellow travelers. It was something I could sacrifice that might also save another. All of us are being called on to do our part in this time. It is a sacrifice, it is placing someone else’s interest ahead of ours. This is who we are called to be, and how we are called to act in the world.

I’m praying for each of you, that you will be kept safe from all hurt, harm and danger. I mask, I advocate for others to be vaccinated because I love them. I love them as Jesus has loved me, without exception.

Blessings and Peace,

Pastor Tom

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