Jesus' Charge in a COVID-19 World
A Message from, Chris Johnson, Lakeside’s Ministry and Program Director
“And he said to his disciples, “Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat, nor about your body, what you will put on. For life is more than food, and the body more than clothing.” (Luke 12:22–23, ESV)
I’m willing to bet you’ve seen this verse multiple times over the last several days. If you’re like me, then you’ve scrolled by it, and said, “Yeah, Yeah… I know!” Then you quickly gravitate toward the latest news on COVID-19, or how your peers are coping or laughing at the latest coronavirus joke, or the latest picture of an empty shelf. But, stop… and think about this charge to us from the very words of Jesus...
...Do you believe it? If not, perhaps you’re still holding onto the idea that you have some measure of control over all this. The reality is, a life under the lordship of Jesus Christ requires submission to a hard truth... that you do not have control over your life and this world. If you are a follower of Christ, then you have died to the ways of this world. You have been crucified. You are dead to fear, to anxiety, to speculation, and all the things of this world that promise serenity. Control is an illusion because there are so many forces at work that we have no control over. All you have left is Jesus Christ.
“But far be it from me to boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.” (Galatians 6:14, ESV)
Does that mean we throw out wisdom? Of course not, it does mean we throw out the idea that our decisions guarantee us success, happiness, and longevity.
In Luke 12:13-21, we read about the Parable of the Fool. Ironically, this Parable is right before our “do not be anxious” verse. This is a parable about a man who boasts of his riches and his ability to control his life. He boasts that he’s got it all figured out and as a result, he can sit back and relax and not worry because “he prepared.” The man says, “And I will say to my soul, ‘Soul, you have ample goods (toilet paper) laid up for many years; relax, eat, drink, be merry.’’” (Luke 12:19, ESV)
But Jesus says the man is a fool! “But God said to him, ‘Fool! This night your soul is required of you, and the things you have prepared, whose will they be?’ So is the one who lays up treasure for himself and is not rich toward God.”” (Luke 12:20–21, ESV)
Jesus essentially says, this man is going to die despite all his riches. All his preparation and toilet paper hoarding cannot prepare him for the inevitable. So, what is required of him the most? That he is rich toward God. That’s it.
In the end, what we have is our life in Christ. That requires we love sacrificially as He has loved. It means we need not worry because it doesn’t add a single hour to our lives. We are cared for like the birds and the lilies.
My charge to you this day, and in the days to come is to crucify your fear and store up treasures in heaven. The gift of prayer, solitude, and slowness. Enjoy time with your family or take time to live out forgiveness if you’re stuck in a house with a family member you need to have a hard conversation with. Think of your neighbors, particularly those who are sick and elderly and see what they need (at a distance of course). Do those things, not because you have any measure of control, but because you live a life in Christ and that’s what He would do.
The staff here at Lakeside are trusting in the Lord each day and making decisions based on the most relevant information. Are we worried? No, because God is bigger than this and will redeem even what happens during this crisis. Shalom.