“Put me in coach, I’m ready!”
How many coaches have heard this plea? And how many of us sitting on the bench are just waiting for our opportunity to shine, to show the world what we’re made of? In the past, a response may have been, “You’re not ready.” But now the response might be, “Put you in where?”
A few years ago, it seemed like opportunities to shine were everywhere. Now, opportunities to just participate seem out of reach. Ordinary life has been replaced by a blanket of illness and fear.
This is even more complicated because of the credentials needed to participate. I have COVID at the time of this article. That means, according to our health authorities, I am immune from covid for about three months. A nurse told us that the vaccine immunity is for four months. Yet credentials to be put into the game include mask wearing, and in increasing cases, proof of vaccination.
I get these things. I get that we need to feel safe. I also get that we need to relate, to compete, to discuss, and to live.
In the midst of our dealing with COVID, we have become more divided than ever before. People fight over wearing masks. People fight over if we need to be vaccinated. People fight over the need to isolate. There are those who are rule followers and those who are rule avoiders.
It feels like segregation. It feels lonely. And it just doesn’t feel like it’s God’s way.
God wants his people to be united in love. He always wants his people to separate from the world of sin and wickedness. Division is not a foreign concept in the Bible. It is why we separate and how we separate that is the difference.
God wants us to do things out of love. Not suspicion or anger and certainly not fear. He calls his people to separate from wickedness because He loves us. God wants us to help others separate from wickedness as well. To make disciples of others, and to help them follow his commands. That is why a Christian is to function in this world so that he can provide for his family and do good. But spiritually we are to live up to a higher standard based on the love of God and by the guidance of the Holy Spirit.
This higher standard is not bashing other Christians or churches for having services, not having services, wearing masks, not wearing masks, getting vaccinated, not getting vaccinated. How much less are we to do these things for those who do not share our foundation of hope and love?
We are called and appointed for just one thing. We only have one job. To show the love of the Father to a hurting world. How do we do this? By leading the way spiritually. By loving God first and foremost, even above our beliefs about covid and the rules that go with it. Even above our own pride.
We are to then love our neighbors. We are to stand upon the sold rock of Christ and show our hope that is in Christ Jesus. This pandemic is still controlling our culture. As Christians, we are not to be controlled by any power other than our love for Christ. The non-believing world cannot see this if we don’t show this.
What they see is churches arguing about whether or not to open or worse pointing fingers at each other over use of masks and vaccine beliefs. What they don’t see is the unity and love of a group of people claiming to love the same Jesus.
Maybe DC Talk got it right way back in the eighties when they said that the number one cause of atheism today is Christians.
Andy Becker is a pastor, retired counsellor and former CEO of a Hospice organization. Currently, his wife, Stella and Andy, lead both Lighthouse ministries and Bread of Life ministries in North Central Regina, one of Canada’s poorest and roughest neighborhoods. His book, The Travelers, is available at Amazon.com and Amazon.ca.