This morning I was reading in Luke 9 about how Jesus sent out the 12 Disciples. It felt so foreign to read that they were anointed with power and authority to cast out unclean spirits and heal every kind of disease and every kind of sickness. It made me wonder that if we were living in Biblical days, would the Coronavirus (COVID-19) have been included in that Commission?
I was Commissioned back in the late 90’s to Missionary service and I don’t ever remember anyone talking about what I read in Luke 9 this morning. I was charged to go and make Disciples by teaching them to observe the teachings of Jesus. I was Commissioned to culturally adapt, love and give up my rights to serve among a people who had never heard the name of Jesus. A church body laid hands on me, prayed over me, my future, my travels, the exploits obedience would lead me into and the provision for all I would need to walk out the Missionary calling.
I have actually seen quite a few Commissionings in my life time. Yet, I have never heard Luke 9, Matthew 10, or Mark 6 emphasized for what Jesus actually said. I have heard… “go two by two,” or, “go preach the Kingdom of God.” Now, maybe that’s because I am from a conservative background. But… Things like healing the sick , casting out unclean spirits, and miracles,,,,,well,,,,, most churches I have attended just didn’t and still don’t talk about ‘those’ things.
Can I share truth with you today?
Maybe we should….
Maybe we should stop trying to ‘Americanize’ scripture to our analytical, self-diagnosis, fear embedded way of living and embrace Scripture for what it says!
Now listen, I’m not some crazy, roll the dice type of Christian when it comes to doctrine or theology. I believe in Hermeneutics, examining original language, fact checking culture, and expository preaching. I embrace sound doctrine and believe in being a Berean who examines the Word carefully.
Can we just take a minute and be really honest with ourselves…
The American Christian lives like they have graduated scripture. They go ‘cra cra’ over a new worship song (whether it is scripture based or not) or, they examine texts so much that any life that was in them has ceased (Cessationism) because there is no room to actually experience the Word of God. Or… people go so loosely on Scripture that now you can just speak whatever word you want to be from God and post it. If it’s good, people will share it, then we end up believing Jesus actually said things like, “Cleanliness is next to Godliness.” Or, “He will never give you more than you can handle”. (BTW – these are NOT in the Bible!!!)
I’m saying all of this because on the brink of Coronovirus taking over the world, it seems to me, every American Christian seems to be justified feeling entitled to live in fear, self protect their posessions, and cling to safety over any risk. I have heard more Christians talk about cancelling mission trips to the needy, lost, broken, sick, and marginalized more than any time in history. Why? Because of their fear that they will contact a disease that is less threatening than the flu.The fact is, yes, there are some unknowns about COVID-19, but the scale of deaths for the flu is still hundreds of thousands more a year.
A few facts from https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/conditions-and-diseases/coronavirus/coronavirus-disease-2019-vs-the-flu
Approximately 107,644 cases worldwide; 437 cases in the U.S. as of Mar. 8, 2020;
Estimated 1 billion cases worldwide; 9.3 million to 45 million cases in the U.S. per year;
Deaths: COVID-19: Approximately 3,653 deaths reported worldwide; 17 deaths in the U.S., as of Mar. 8, 2020;
Flu: 291,000 to 646,000 deaths worldwide; 12,000 to 61,000 deaths in the U.S. per year.
“God has NOT given us a spirit of fear, but of POWER of LOVE and of a SOUND MIND.”
(1 Timothy 1:7)
All of us encounter risks every time we get out of bed. Actually, even if we stay in bed all day we are at risk. Risk is unavoidable and those serving as a Missionary around the world will deal with many of the same risks as those who never leave their home.
Cancer, flu, colds, food poisoning, parasites, ect…, are risks. Transportation always involves risk. Relationships are risky. Everyone lives with risk. In fact, the flu epidemic is a risk that many reading this have experienced and survived more than once.
Now, I’m not advocating to ignore facts. If you are elderly or autoimmune compromised, then be diligent to care for your body. Wash your hands for goodness sake ( shouldn’t you have already been 😳) and cover your mouth when you cough. However, if you are young and in good health, STOP declaring a doomsday prognosis over your life!
What if, instead of embracing fear, we embraced faith?
What if the world could see a church rise in the midst of fear?
What if, we step out and proclaim that we know the One who heals and delivers not just from sickness, but also from fear, anxiety, depression, hopelessness and toxic thinking?
What if, instead of cancelling mission trips, MORE Christians engaged in Missions more than any time in history?
What if, we go serve those who are sick, broken, fearful and distraught?
What if, we lived like we believed we have the authority and power to walk into a sick, broken, hopeless world and fearlessly proclaim a healing and redemptive Gospel?
What if, we just simply go out two by two in the model that Jesus sent out the 12?
How would the world view the beauty of the gospel then?
If you are reading this, I want to challenge you to read Matthew 10, Luke 9, and Mark 6.
I also want to challenge you to overcome Coronoavirus (COVID-19) before you ever get it…. WITH a Gospel-vaccine (GSPL-20).
We are called to be peace in chaos and to have a sound mind in the middle of mass pandemonium.
I pray those reading this, if God has called you to the mission field this summer, be wise; but, also be fearless. There is no emergency meeting happening in Heaven over this.
Matthew 10:29-30 assures us; “Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground outside your Father’s care. And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered.” (31) “So don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.”
Our Father in Heaven is still calling His Bride to embrace their Commission of taking the gospel to the ends of the earth. What better place to be, as a christian, than in a country, where people are struggling with fear and sickness?
I think as a Christian we are empowered with the tools to actually speak into that very situation!
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