EXPRESSING LOVE: Putting Other’s First.
Romans 15:1-3 KJV
 We then that are strong ought to bear the infirmities of the weak, and not to please ourselves.  Let every one of us please his neighbour for his good to edification.  For even Christ pleased not himself; but, as it is written, The reproaches of them that reproached thee fell on me.
1. “Me” instead of “We”
I’ll admit when I first heard the coronavirus had spread to the U.S., I wasn’t concerned. I’m in good health. I’m not “technically” a senior. And I haven’t traveled overseas. I wasn’t about to wear a face mask because I didn’t think the virus was a personal threat.
Then I started realizing what others were going through—others who have autoimmune deficiencies, lupus, diabetes, cancer, or other health problems. Suddenly, it wasn’t about me anymore and whether or not I could go to the mall, or work out at my gym, or dine at my local Chick-fil-A.
It was about others who may be more vulnerable to this virus. It was about those who are dying from a disease gone rampant. Whether or not that ever impacts me isn’t the point anymore.
Realizing we can each do something (like isolating ourselves, wearing a mask in public, and maintaining a safe distance from others) to possibly help prolong another person’s life is impacting.
We really can make a difference.
Most of the time we’re selfish because we figure we can’t make much of a difference on our own, anyway. Today we can. The coronavirus pandemic is making us more aware of others and how we can help.
And that is making us a society that is less independent and more interdependent.
Nursing Our Own Wounds Rather Than Encouraging Others
It’s natural for us to look out for ‘no. 1’ and work through our own anxieties, focusing on how we need help instead of helping others. But this pandemic is teaching us to look less at ourselves and how inconvenienced we are, and begin looking after those who need our help, hope, and encouragement.
Putting up Christmas lights this past month to bring a spirit of hope and good cheer to others is a priceless surprise. (Even I used to think about electricity costs of doing such a thing and now, in an economy in crisis, even the price of electricity doesn’t compare to the price of another person’s smile and hope.)
I’m seeing more people offering to help others with groceries, prescription pickup, and meal delivery. I’m seeing countless people making masks for first responders to protect those coming in direct contact with others who are ill. I’m seeing more of a focus on “How can I help?” than “How will this affect me?” And that is making us less selfish people.
Reminders on social media to call your mother and challenges to help the elderly, ill, or disadvantaged are becoming a way of life. Whereas before we lived our lives at breakneck speed and some of us didn’t have time for most social events or even friendships, this slowdown has made us less selfish and more aware of what matters most in life: Our relationship with God and our relationships with people.
Certainly, this pandemic has taught us that spending time with others is not a distraction or a waste of time. Maybe we are finally heeding Moses’ song in Psalm 90:12 “So teach us to number our days, that we may present to You a heart of wisdom” (NASB).
I’ve talked to many people recently who have told me their prayer lives are changing these days. Instead of focusing on their own needs and wants (and giving God our wish lists), they find themselves praying more for others.
Could it be that God is opening our eyes during this time to the plight of others around us? Could it be that we are finally praying daily—instead of once a year on National Day of Prayer—that God would “hear from Heaven” and heal our land (2 Chronicles 7:14)?
We are told in Ephesians 6:1-12 to put on the full armor of God in order to stand against “our struggle [that] is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.”
(Excerpts from crosswalk devotion)
Father, Thank you for opening our eyes to see the plight of others. Help us to have a better outlook on the liberties and freedoms and health we had before—and realize it is something to be grateful for, not feel entitled about.
As in Num 31:49, when the counting was done at the end of the war, not one man was missing. We shall outlast this COVID-19 pandemic by the Grace and mercy of God in a stronger and better positioning in Jesus name.
HAVE A FRUITFUL WEEK!
Pastor Gregory Odiase