Our theme for this month: “Life on this side of the cross”
Our Bible verse for today: “Anyone, then, who knows the good he ought to do and doesn’t do it, sins.” James 4:17 (NIV)
Our thought for today: “Rise to the occasion and shine for Jesus.”
Yesterday morning I went to the grocery store near our home to pick up a few items that we needed. I noticed that most of the store workers seemed frazzled and a bit jaded, but the store had only recently opened and the day was just beginning. As it turns out, the previous week has been something of a nightmare for them. Crowds of people have engaged in panic buying and when the items they were looking for were out of stock, some customers expressed anger at the store workers, as if it was their fault the items were out of stock.
Such conduct is totally uncalled for. And panic buying is completely unnecessary. The only reason there is a shortage on things like toilet paper is because people are giving-in to fear and acting foolishly. But worse, some of them are getting mean and selfish. Sadly, that’s the way of the world sometimes.
But that’s also why God has us, the followers of Jesus, out in the world. It’s one of the reasons He didn’t take you straight to heaven the moment He saved you. Instead, He left you here so you can share the love of Jesus with hurting, frightened, and struggling people, and so you can be an agent of peace and calm and clarity in the middle of chaos. Christians are to be forces for good in a world that is often bad.
That’s what James was writing about in James 4:17 when he taught us that it is a sin to know the right thing to do but then to not do it. Doing good in the name of Christ is why God has us here. In Proverbs 3:27 the great King Solomon expressed the same thought this way, “Do not withhold good from those who deserve it, when it is in your power to act.”
I want to encourage you to actively look for ways to be a help and a blessing to people during these difficult times. If you’re looking for it, you will see a hundred opportunities every day. It might be something big, like bringing groceries to an elderly shut-in; or it might be something small, like smiling at a frazzled store clerk and thanking her for her patience and service. The opportunities for acts of love and kindness are endless on a normal day, but especially so during a time like this.
Brothers and sisters, this is our opportunity to really shine for Jesus. People are scared, some of them are now out of work, some of them are sick. It’s time for the Church to rise up and seize the moment. Perhaps God has you right where you are, right now, for a time such as this.