May 18, 2020
Join us as we explore God’s ancient wisdom and apply it to our modern lives. His word is as current and relevant today as it was when he inspired its authors more than two and a half millennia ago. The websites where you can reach us are alittlewalkwithgod.com, richardagee.com, or saf.church.
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Thanks for joining me today for "A Little Walk with God." I'm your host Richard Agee.
I don't know about you, but I'm getting a little tired of the pandemic news. I don't think it's so much the news about the pandemic as it is the debate about who is at fault for the predicament we're in economically and physically. Here we sit with unemployment at its highest since the Great Depression. That's understandable with everyone locked in their homes. It's hard to employ workers when businesses have no income because no one can come to their place of business to purchase goods and services.
So we try to help, and in so doing, put our economy in another tailspin by doubling our national debt with programs that I'm not sure help much. Bailouts that were supposed to provide small businesses funds for wages ran out of money within minutes. A $1,200 check to most adults barely covers groceries for a month these days—and then what? Democrats blame Republicans for delays. Republicans blame Democrats for delays. Neither party seems to recognize the real culprit in all of this drama is a new virus to which no one is immune. So it really doesn't matter what either party says or does, we were in trouble from the start. Every decision was a bad decision. Pandemics are like that.
We lifted Germany and Singapore as the best models of how to avoid the spread of the virus. The spread appears to have been delayed at best. Their numbers have drastically increased in the last few weeks. So, I'm not sure anyone could do anything about what has happened. At best, we could flatten the curve as governors, and country leaders tried to do in various ways, some more successfully than others perhaps, but none have beat the bug.
The question I've been asking myself through these bad news stories is, what good can we find in this pandemic? One important thing I've discovered, our priorities changed quickly. Not many ask, "When will I see my football team play again?" Or complain about the dress code at school. Suddenly, those invisible people in factories and hospitals like the janitorial staff become heroes keeping us safe. Teachers and healthcare workers become more important in the eyes of the public than the multimillion-dollar movie stars and sports figures. We find out the researcher behind the microscope is much more important to us than the newscaster in front of the camera.
In the past, we made gods of the wrong people and the wrong things. In this country, wealth, fame, position, power, became gods to us. We worshipped these without saying so. These became the most valued things in our lives. The pandemic is the great equalizer for all of us, though. Wealth doesn't keep you safe. Nor does fame or position or power. When the virus decides to strike, it will invade and destroy whomever it chooses.
Paul visited Athens in his missionary journeys and found the same problem there. The Athenians had more visible representations of their gods, but our worship of things other than the true and living God is no different than theirs. Here is what Paul had to say, recorded for us in the Book of Acts:
So Paul took his stand in the open space at the Areopagus and laid it out for them. "It is plain to see that you Athenians take your religion seriously. When I arrived here the other day, I was fascinated with all the shrines I came across. And then I found one inscribed, to the god nobody knows. I'm here to introduce you to this God so you can worship intelligently, know who you're dealing with.
"The God who made the world and everything in it, this Master of sky and land, doesn't live in custom-made shrines or need the human race to run errands for him, as if he couldn't take care of himself. He makes the creatures; the creatures don't make him. Starting from scratch, he made the entire human race and made the earth hospitable, with plenty of time and space for living so we could seek after God, and not just grope around in the dark but actually find him. He doesn't play hide-and-seek with us. He's not remote; he's near. We live and move in him, can't get away from him! One of your poets said it well: 'We're the God-created.' Well, if we are the God-created, it doesn't make a lot of sense to think we could hire a sculptor to chisel a god out of stone for us, does it?
"God overlooks it as long as you don't know any better—but that time is past. The unknown is now known, and he's calling for a radical life-change. He has set a day when the entire human race will be judged and everything set right. And he has already appointed the judge, confirming him before everyone by raising him from the dead." (Acts 17:22-31 TM)
Perhaps in this pandemic, we can take some time to reflect on what is most important in our lives. Before we get back into the mad rush of life and everything opens up to a new normal, maybe we can take inventory of our before COVID life and ask ourselves, on what did I focus my attention? To what did I give my allegiance? What was most important to me if someone watched how I spent my time and my money? Could others see that I genuinely worshipped the God of all creation? Did my behavior show that He is more important to me than everything else in my life?
It's not too late to figure out God is calling each of us to a radical life change. He wants to renew an intimate relationship with His highest creation. Jesus introduced Him as "Abba," a close, personal term for father, like Daddy. But He also reminds us that Abba is the creator of all things, the Almighty, the Master of the Universe.
While we are enclosed in our homes, blocked from the rat race that consumed us before COVID, maybe it's time to look for God. He doesn't play hide-and-seek, but He is God and desires us to come to Him understanding who He is—God. When we find Him, when we worship Him, He brings to our hearts an indescribable joy and peace even in the middle of events such as these. Will He remove us from the pandemic? Probably not. We suffer alongside the rest of humanity, but we live with hope, and that's the difference.
What is your god? Better yet, Who is your God? Discover Him while you have some time on your hands.
You can find me at richardagee.com. I also invite you to join us at San Antonio First Church of the Nazarene on West Avenue in San Antonio to hear more Bible-based teaching. You can find out more about my church at SAF.church. Thanks for listening. If you enjoyed it, tell a friend. If you didn't, send me an email and let me know how better to reach out to those around you. Until next week, may God richly bless you as you venture into His story each day.
Scriptures marked TM are taken from the THE MESSAGE: THE BIBLE IN CONTEMPORARY ENGLISH (TM): Scripture taken from THE MESSAGE: THE BIBLE IN CONTEMPORARY ENGLISH, copyright©1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002. Used by permission of NavPress Publishing Group