Recently we read in 1 John, “In this world we are like Jesus” (1 John 4:17b). The phrase stopped us. We looked at, chewed on, and meditated on “we are like Jesus.” It struck us as both a phrase of encouragement and a word of challenge.
Who are you like?
Am I showing the world who Jesus is during COVID-19?
- Does Jesus live with fear?
- Does Jesus live with courage?
- Does Jesus live in anxiety?
- Does Jesus live with hope?
- Does Jesus live with greed?
- Does Jesus live with generosity?
The answers to these questions are easy. I mean, we’re talking about Jesus after all! But in this world, Jesus gives his followers the task to re-present him well on earth!
If we “are like Jesus”:
- In a world bound by fear, we can spread peace through our words and actions.
- In a world bound by anxiety, we can live out our faith and hope that comes from a sound mind, centered on Jesus.
- In a world bound by greed, we can give sacrificially to others while trusting God to meet our needs.
Hope vs. Hopelessness
Some of our Asian partners have been “like Jesus” as they fed the hungry, driven the sick to clinics, emptied personal bank accounts to keep families from starving. Some of our American partners have prayed and fasted for 10/40’s work during this time or have sent additional donations to enable us to feed the hungry and increase hope.
Last week we felt deep frustration, anger, and sadness. One Asian partner sent us a photo of a young Hindu family – hanging. They had lost their jobs due to the factory closing which meant they lost their house. They were trying to walk back to their village hundreds of miles away. They gave in to hopelessness and the mom, dad, and 3-year old hung to their death. The autopsy revealed the mom was pregnant.
This young family didn’t die from COVID-19, but their deaths were marked as such. Due to the crashing economy, they succumbed to hopelessness surrounding them. They didn’t worship the economy, but they did depend on it for basic necessities.
Suicides are increasing in Asia. One mother in Chiang Mai said, “I would rather die fast from COVID-19 than watch my children die slow from starvation. We need to work.”
The Prevailing Spirit vs. The Opposite Spirit
All of us have been affected by the virus. But while some of us struggle as retirement funds shrink and vacations are canceled (and those things definitely hurt), the world’s poor suffer with starvation and emotional trauma.
Your family or church has undoubtedly gone through a wide range of thoughts and emotions. Many of you have come up with creative ways to bless others in the midst of crisis. Great job! Keep up the good work and the outward focus!
One church in our area of Thailand meets in a hotel. They provided bags of food for 50 families – blessing the laid off hotel employees. They included a sweet Gospel tract in each bag. Gospel seeds are being planted.
In the second half of 2020 may we all see a multiplied harvest! And may we each be “like Jesus” during this time, walking in the opposite spirit with hope, courage, peace, creativity, and generosity!