Read Acts 4:32-37
ALSO IN SCRIPTURE
“Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples.” (John 13:35, NLT)
I decided to take a short break from the ongoing “God’s People” series this week in order to write what I hope you will find to be a hopeful, encouraging, comforting and inspiring devotion in a time that has been super stressful, panic-laden, and uncertain. The COVID-19 virus has taken the world by storm and caused everyone’s lives to come to a standstill, with no foreseeable end in sight. Reporters and others keep saying we’ll get past this, that we’ll “win the war”, as it were, against the virus; however, those reports are followed by exponentially increased amount of cases each day, and an exponentially increased number of deaths.
Then there are the stores, with all of their empty shelves. People hoarding toilet paper, paper towels, water, chicken, hand sanitizer and other things. I have to say that, as a fan of the TV show The Walking Dead, I really think the author’s have it right when the show how such crises can transform people into monsters. People go into “me, myself, and my own” mode and don’t stop to think how their actions might be harming others.
Now, don’t misunderstand what I am saying. I am not calling the person with 450,000 rolls of toilet paper stored in their finished basement a “monster”, but the result of their decision to hoard can be monstrous for those who must suffer without the basic necessities. All jokes about TP aside, it doesn’t take much to get people to fall into their base, primal, survival of the fittest state.
What’s more, look at the hospitals and medical workers who have a shortage of PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) and have to put on used masks and gloves because there is a shortage. Why is there a shortage? Because the same people who pillaged the supermarkets aslo bought out the entire nation’s supply of PPE. This is what I mean by the word “monster”. When our egos take control and we only look out for numero uno, the result can be deadly.
The Christian way of living is much different from that. Of course, I am sure at least some of the hoarders identify as Christian; however, the behavior of hoarding is NOT Christian. The Christian way of living is the complete opposite of that. I am not saying that those Christians who panicked and ravaged the stores are not Christian, but that their behavior is NOT Christian. Christians, after all, are human beings and prone to sin like everyone else.
As was written about in the God’s People devotion series, the earliest Jesus followers lived a much different lifestyle than that which is bred in our Capitalist society. Conversely, their way of living was also different from that of Communist and/or Socialist societies as well. The way of life for the early Christian was one that came from no government or political philosophy; rather, it came out of a profoundly deep relationship with the risen Lord Jesus Christ.
You see, the earliest Christians recognized Jesus’ identity as God, and that God had chosen them to have an intimate and transformative relationship with. Not only that, but God had infused Godself within them and began a regeneration within them. They were new creations, no longer living for themselves but living for God. Everything they had was God’s gift to them and, therefore, they shared everything with each other. Everything belonged to everyone, equally.
Can you imagine how different this world would be if Christians today actually lived in a generous, giving and radically hospitable way? Friends, the world’s way is to eat or be eaten, to take or have nothing, to be the fittest or die. Christ’s way, in contrast, is the way of self-sacrifice, of extravagant generosity, of empathy, compassion and radical hospitality.
Let us be challenged to repent of the ways in which we have followed the world instead of Christ; however, more importantly, let us remember that Christ died for us and that our sins ARE forgiven. Let us embrace that reality and rise up to be the body of Christ together. Let us, through our Lord Jesus Christ, be the hope, the healing, and the wholeness this broken and shattered world so desperately needs.
THOUGHT OF THE DAY
Christ is with you, within you, and transcends you.
Lord, help me to draw closer to you and grow to be more like you in all that I do. Amen.