“For you are not pleased with sacrifices; should I offer a burnt offering, you would not accept it. My sacrifice, O God, is a contrite spirit; a heart contrite and humbled, O God, you will not spurn. ~ Ps 51.18-19
The world is not a big fan of selflessness and personal sacrifice. It goes in the opposite direction and encourages selfishness in the name of self-interest. Proof. We pose for selfies, edit our images to make us look better, and self-promote the best parts of our lives to the point of false advertising and measure success by the number of “likes” we get. We tend to think of ourselves more than we think of others. But then a crisis like the Coronavirus hits us and we are asked to make personal sacrifices to help others.
Hopefully as Christians, we don’t need a hurricane or the Coronavirus to make us think of others. Jesus says to think of our neighbors with the same affection as we think of ourselves. We are commanded to care for others, to give to others and to address the needs of others. Paul explains this command even further: “Don’t be selfish; don’t try to impress others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourselves. Don’t look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in others, too.” (Philippians 2:3-4)
The Coronavirus has made the last few weeks a time of high anxiety, and while we are taking seriously the science and the facts of the situation and keeping the best interests of the community in mind, we are still committed to trusting God, remaining calm, and doing what we can to serve the people in our community as the hands and feet of Christ out in the world. We want to help as many people as we can. The people who are at the highest risk, the shut-ins, people who need some sort of assistance. That assistance could be going to the grocery store for an elderly couple or to the pharmacy or delivering a meal or just giving them a call to see how they are doing. Even though we are not meeting in the building we are still the church. And thinking of the benefit you can give others before you benefit yourself is vitally important in showing God’s love to the world.
After all, in this current crisis, we should take practical precautions like washing hands, covering sneezing, and social distancing. But let’s not distance ourselves from the least of these that need our help. Romans 12:10 tells us, “Love each other with genuine affection, and take delight in honoring each other.”
Hopefully, over the next few weeks, we look less at our needs and wants and more at the needs and wants of others. Our prayer is that we as a community “…always try to do good to each other and to all people.” (1 Thessalonians 5:15).
As we seek to serve those in need, may the grace of God that reached us in our need move us to reach out to others in theirs.
- What type of sacrifices do you think we should make during the Coronavirus pandemic?
- What are some of those sacrifices we can safely make this week?