I've sat the last 24 hours and didn't post on social media. I just sat and watched as people adjusted. Monday was our first full day of no school, many working from home, many are worried. Many are stocking up on household necessities.
The news stations are updating people on how quickly life is changing. Being an American my whole life, I never imagined a day when I couldn't go out. And now there are rumors that we are approaching days when we will be told to stay in our homes, quarantined. I am sitting here trying to come up with a strategy for families and kids to still receive the Gospel, to still dive into His Word, and remain spiritually healthy.
Today, we need to sit on Titus 3. I've been sitting on this chapter for about 2 weeks now. Let's read it together.
Remind them to be subject to rulers, to authorities, to be obedient, to be ready for every good deed, to mailign no one, to be peaceable, gentle, showing consideration for all mankind. For we also were foolish ourselves, disobedient, deceived, enslaved to various lusts and pleasures, spending our life in malice and envy, hateful, hating one another. But when the kindness of God our Savior and His love for mankind appeared, He saved us, not on the basis of the deeds which we have done in righteousness, but according to His mercy, by washing of regeneration and renewing by the Holy Spirit, whom He poured out upon us richly through Christ Jesus our Savior, so that being justified by His grace we would be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life.
This is a trustworthy statement; and concerning these things I want you to speak confidently, so that those who have believed God will be careful to engage in good deeds. These things are good and profitable for mankind: Avoid fooloish controversies and genealogies and strife and disputes about the Law, for they are unprofitable and worthless. Reject a factious man after a first or second warning, knowing that such a man is perverted and is sinning, being self-condemned.
When I send Artemas or Tychicus to you, make every effort to come to me at Nicopolis, for I have decided to spend winter there. Dilligently help Zenas the lawyer and Appolos on their way so that nothing lacking for them. Our people must also learn to engage in good deeds to meet pressing needs, so that they will not be unfruitful. All who are with me greet you. Greet those who love us in the faith. Grace be with you all. -Titus 3, NASB
At this time, where the government it taking actions to reduce the spread of a virus, they are reducing things that we took as a right and we may have even taken for granted. Church, school, only so many in a grocery store at the same time. I want to remind you as the first verses of this chapter reminds us, be obedient to these authorities. If they say to not be in groups of more than 10, let's follow their lead. If they say to stay in our homes, let's follow their lead. "Let's be ready for every good deed." The good deed today perhaps is to not be a carrier of a virus to those who are vulnerable and to keep it from spreading as much as possible. This isn't about you, it's about community.
In the time when Paul penned this letter to Titus, people were very suspicious about Christians (and they are today!) so Paul emphasizes the need for fruit-filled behavior. He wanted Christians to be the kind of people that people would want to be around, espically in a time of crisis.
Not complaining, but serving.
Not arguing, but submitting.
Not worried, but Hope-filled.
Now is not the time to be spewing your worry, your dislike, your disagreements on social media or in person. Now is the time to be asking, "Do you need anything." "How can I help." "Do you need toilet paper?" Now is the time, to stay away from as many people as you can to prevent the spread as much as you can. It is Lent, I know none of us expected to give up this much up! But perhaps, if we soak in Jesus this next couple of weeks, we may find that what we took for granted... like going to Church... we won't take for granted in the years to come. Perhaps, we will find that our Life Groups are not something we can say, "oh, I will go next week." "I will join one next semester..." Perhaps, we will be more intentional to spread the Gospel and to gather and grow as much as possible. Maybe, we will realize our call like never before and be the Church and the people that others want to be around... and perhaps we will be the people they need because we have Jesus roaring inside of us and I know they NEED HIM.
Be the Church, Church.
The fig tree picture was picked because in Mark 11:12-25, Jesus curses a fig tree because it was all leaves and no fruit. You see, fig trees produce fruit before they produce leaves... the fact that this tree was full of leaves proved it wasn't going to produce fruit. Let's embrace this season of self-pruning, through the Holy Spirit, so we can produce the fruit that He wants us to bear.
Be fruitful, Church, be fruitful.