May 4, 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.
It's hard to believe four months of the year are behind us. Days creep along when faced with the daily grind of the coronavirus restrictions. Or when fighting the disease on the frontlines of hospitals watching patients struggle for life. But here we are with a fourth of the year gone by. Life rushes by at an incredible pace. Before you know it, time is gone.
During these days, I am trying to be a little more mindful of things going on around me. Couples walking around the block that didn't have time to do so before. Kids riding bicycles that have laid idle in garages in the past. Friends and neighbors spending time talking across the yard to each other when before this crisis began, there seemed to be little time for any of these activities.
I've also tried to filter the news to which I pay attention. Most of the reports give us the number of sick and dead around the world or in our country. They tell us the worst-case scenarios we can expect with the disease and our economy in the months ahead. It's all the same. Look for, here's the dreaded word, "unprecedented" events in the coming months.
I've come to really dislike the word. We misuse it. It's not true of this plague. Many alive today never experienced anything like it, but it certainly isn't unprecedented. Ask anyone who survived the "Great Depression." We are nowhere close to that stage in this country yet. If you could resurrect those who lived during the "Black Death" that swept through Europe in the middle ages, they would laugh at us. Between 25 and 50 percent of the population died then. Even the 1918 Spanish Flu took 25 million of us.
We cannot call this unprecedented. We can call it a pandemic. We can call it a disaster. We can call us unprepared. We can say a lot of things about it, but we should stop using the word unprecedented. It's not.
What is also not unprecedented, but rare are the acts of kindness I'm beginning to see around us. Rather than hoarding, I'm starting to see neighbors making grocery runs for neighbors who are at higher risk of severe symptoms if they acquire the virus. I'm seeing those neighborly actions that were so common in the 1950s and 1960s. I'm seeing people talking to each other with real words instead of through mechanical devices. People are beginning to understand that the entertainment industry and sports world might not be the most essential segments of society. Maybe teachers and health professionals and first responders and janitors play a much more indispensable role than we have given them credit over the last few decades.
Maybe we can begin to charge our federal officeholders to become statemen instead of politicians in the future. We have watched enough of their party politics result in tremendous human suffering. It's time we stop their petty scramble for reelection and keep the good of the people in mind.
But frankly, governments will never take care of people well. They never have. Rome created one of the best welfare systems for their Roman citizens. It eventually failed. The state couldn't afford it, even with their world-wide conquests and burdensome taxation. So how were people cared for? The fringe was the concern of Jesus. He ministered to outcasts by the governments and religious organizations. So did those who followed his example after his resurrection. We read about them in the second letter Luke wrote to Theophilus concerning the acts of the early followers of Jesus. We call the letter the Book of Acts. Luke writes:
They devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching and fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers. Awe came upon everyone, because many wonders and signs were being done by the apostles. All who believed were together and had all things in common; they would sell their possessions and goods and distribute the proceeds to all, as any had need. Day by day, as they spent much time together in the temple, they broke bread at home and ate their food with glad and generous hearts, praising God and having the goodwill of all the people. And day by day, the Lord added to their number those who were being saved. (Acts 2:42-47 NIV)
More people became followers of this new way of life because they saw the joy and peace that radiated from those who ministered to them. They saw something different in these Christians. Even though the Romans and the Jewish leaders sought to destroy them, they didn't fear death or suffering at the hands of these leaders. They exuded peace in the face of death that could not be explained by ordinary means. It was the presence of the living God in their lives that made the difference. And it was this same presence of God that caused them to joyfully share what little they had with others to ensure all had enough to survive the onslaught of the persecution they faced.
Generosity in the face of poverty. Gladness in the face of persecution. Hope where others thought there should only exist hopelessness in their situation. These are the traits of the early Christians that drew men and women into their fold, adding to the church day by day. Their demonstrated love brought people to them and the church, nothing more and nothing less.
So here we are in the middle of this pandemic. Some states and cities relaxed their shelter at home orders freeing us to move about with certain precautions. The pandemic isn't over. We will have a second wave in the next few months. More will become sick, and many will die before we see the end of this disease.
As Christians, we have an opportunity to extend God's love during this time. We can act like the Apostles in the early church and be mindful of the needs of those around us. We can praise God and have the goodwill of the people because of the genuine love we have for those around us demonstrated by our actions. Let's be the living body of Christ that he intended us to be in this crucial time.
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 NIV are taken from the NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION (NIV): Scripture taken from THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION ®. Copyright© 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™. Used by permission of Zondervan