- Who we are
- What we do
Is this time a unique opportunity for growing our character and closeness with God?
Reading through Leviticus recently, I was reminded again of God’s ‘forced sabbath’ for the land. He had promised that if Israel didn’t keep the covenant, they would be exiled, and the land would “enjoy its sabbath years all the time that it lies desolate and you are in the country of your enemies” (Leviticus 26:34). But Israel never ‘rested’ and let the land lie fallow every seventh year. During the 70 years of the Babylonian exile, God gave the land all the sabbath rest which the people of Israel did not (2 Chronicles 36:21).
Many of us Christians have allowed ourselves to become just as busy as the world around us. Among all that COVID-19 throws up, perhaps the clearing of our calendars forces upon us the space we need to refresh our relationship with the Lord.
I worry however in this time we might slide into a trap of our age – to think that content is king. Never before has so much information—including Christian—been available to us. Among all the YouTube and Netflix on offer, it has been great to see many Christian colleges and websites in recent days open up courses and materials for free. There are many good opportunities for you to learn. But don’t be mistaken. Receiving information is only one step towards transformation. Consuming content is easy. What is harder is forming character and closeness with the Lord.
How might we make the most of this enforced rest? Not merely through learning, but using our time to reflect on the Bible, and to reflect on our lives. We need to make space to properly come before the Lord and pray. Busy parents may have less time for taking in information but perhaps more time to build Christian character and call on God for grace!
You may already be doing this and find it easy. But for those of us who find it hard, this strange time may be a gift from the Lord.
– SAM PURSELL
COVID-19 has pierced the notion many of us have of independence and self-sufficiency. As our patterns have changed over the last fortnight many of us have begun to worry. For we have been cut off from others, and gaps have formed in food and other supply chains. Suddenly what Jesus tells his disciples about worrying about life comes a little closer to home:
Then Jesus said to his disciples: “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat; or about your body, what you will wear. For life is more than food, and the body more than clothes. Consider the ravens: They do not sow or reap, they have no storeroom or barn; yet God feeds them. And how much more valuable you are than birds! Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to your life? Since you cannot do this very little thing, why do you worry about the rest? (Luke 12:22-26)
Jesus tells us to put our confidence in God who loves and richly provides. If God loves and provides for the animals he has made, how much more his people? Jesus says do not worry because God will provide our needs, and he has our lives in his hands. Furthermore, in Jesus God has provided our greatest need, laying down his life for ours.
At the same time, God continually tells those who have, to help those who are in need.
Suppose a brother or a sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to them, “Go in peace; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it? (James 2:15-16)
COVID-19 has caused higher isolation, unemployment and anxiety. Therefore, staying in touch and supporting those in need has become both more important and more difficult. But we trust God will provide for us, and he will strengthen us to help one another.
Please do reach out to one another, your Bible study leader, the wardens, Val or myself in these testing times. And be reassured that your life is precious to God.
– SAM PURSELL