The body of Christ has been given the mandate to preach the gospel to every creature. Our very job description is to be fishers of men. But how does a person fill this mandate when he can’t go fishing? How can the body of Christ preach the gospel when we can’t get close to anyone? These are the questions that we are all grappling with. But in every generation, faithful Christians have lived out the commandments of Christ under every circumstance. The truths in the Word of God are timeless! God’s principles can and should be applied to every circumstance.
So how can we be a light to the world in this situation? Consider how light can be seen from a distance. “A city on a hill,” as Jesus put it, “cannot be hid… let your light so shine before men that they may see your good works and glorify your Father which is in heaven.” I’d like to suggest that we can continue to let our lights shine.
I’ve heard a variety of ways that Christians are reaching out during this time. My goal was to take the combined creativity of various communities and compile a list of ideas that we can all use. Please remember that everyone’s situation is different and some of the suggestions may not be suitable for your current situation. It is crucial to be respectful of government guidelines and to be sensitive to the feelings of those we are trying to reach. We don’t want to ruin the reputation of our Saviour while trying to promote it. But maybe just seeing these ideas will inspire you with one of your own.
I’d like to suggest that there are three powerful ideas that come straight from Scripture.
Peace. Think about it. If the Prince of Peace is living inside of us, then our soul will be calm, even when the storm is raging all around us. There are many other little ships as Mark 4 puts it, that are facing the same storm that we are except for one important difference: they don’t have Jesus in their vessel! We do. As we get groceries or chat with a passing neighbour, we can shine the light of Christ by our facial expression, our speech, and our conduct. Many people do not have peace. They will notice someone who does!
Prayer. When Paul and Silas were put under “lockdown” in Acts 16, how did they respond? They prayed and sang praises! And guess what? They weren’t the only prisoners in that prison. I love how Luke includes the little comment, “and the prisoners heard them.” What a receptive audience they must have had. Those other prisoners shared the same jail, the same chains, and the same treatment. But what was this praying, this singing? What a witness! God give us what Paul and Silas had!
Most of us have more time than ever on our hands. I challenge us to increase our prayer time. Do not underestimate the power of prayer. History is full of examples of its power especially when there was intensity, and persistence. Nothing is stopping you from praying and nothing ever can as long as you have a sound mind. Have you considered calling up a brother or sister and having a prayer meeting between the two of you? Conference calls and other platforms can permit us to pray in even larger numbers.
The Bible says that Elijah was man who had passions just like us. Had he lived in 2020, it’s quite possible that he would have struggled with spending too much time on social media just like we do. But he chose to pray fervently! Soon, he had the entire nation’s attention (James 5: 17-18). So pray! Pray for weary health workers. Pray for our government. Pray for opportunities to witness. Pray for revival! Pray alone! Pray together! Pray!
Praise. If Paul and Silas could sing praise during their lockdown experience, we can too! There are multiple ways to do this. Individual praise to God is important. Singing as a family is important. The Bible makes over 400 references to singing and gives fifty direct commands to sing!
It is tempting to be discouraged because we can’t sing together with other believers, but let’s remember that this doesn’t mean that we can’t sing. Music speaks to the deep places of the soul, and it is a wonderful way to share light.
Whistle while you rake the grass and don’t be afraid to have the window open or even congregate on the deck when you sing as a family. Those who live in town have an advantage here. But you can also call an elderly person and sing or play an instrument over the phone to them. They will love it! The virus seems to be bringing a spirit of heaviness. Let’s replace it with the garment of praise and sing praise unto God among the nations!
Here is the list I’ve compiled so far. It doesn’t cover many of the digital options that are available to us. Feel free to add to it and pass it on to others who are interested in being a light for Christ. May God receive glory as we let our lights shine!
We can be light and salt by:
- Displaying Gods peace, praying faithfully, and proclaiming His praise in song.
- Obeying what the government is asking of us during this time and speaking about them respectfully.
- Partnering with Christian Aid Ministries in their Covid-19 response to help local food banks and soup kitchens. For anyone interested in sewing, check CAM’s website for specifications and instructions to sew hospital gowns and face masks and donate them directly to CAM.
- Sewing face masks for donation to local hospitals or people in the community.
- Blessing grocery store employees by buying gift cards or coupons for local take out, a thank you note, etc. This could be personal or a larger gift for all employees, given to manager.
- Donating resources (money, food) to, and/or partnering with organizations who are supporting frontline workers with meals. Give accommodation for people who need to shelter in place.
- Encouraging healthcare workers through thank you cards, a sign in your window, or gift cards.
- Recognizing the efforts of those with less noticeable jobs, such as garbage collectors and postal workers. Give a thank you note, baking (use discretion), gift card, etc.
- Helping those who are in need (such those that can’t work) through a gift card or food box.
- Reaching out to the elderly, or those who live alone, by calling them on the phone, sending cards, or offering grocery runs. (Make a extra effort to sanitize!)
- Offering to lend magazines, puzzles or audio books to help pass the time because many elderly folk are bored.
- Taking/making opportunities for conversations with neighbors and people you meet. People seem to be more open and willing to talk now.
- If you live in town, do outside/yard work at a strategic time and place that will allow you to chat with neighbours who are walking by.
- Volunteering at the local soup kitchen. These places are receiving new clientele—even whole families right now as people lose their jobs and can’t afford food.
- Telephone witnessing – calling people (especially those with whom you already have a relationship) to see how they are doing and then sharing words of hope and truth.
- Write out your personal testimony and mail it those whom you know, but you have never witnessed to. Writing it out, allows you to say exactly what you want to say, and they can read it over and over.
- Ordering flowers for someone who needs encouragement.
- Write an encouraging poem about hope found in Jesus and hang it up on the bulletin board of your local grocery store. (Include your phone number or email at the bottom.)
- Send encouragement to friends and neighbors through a text, or a card, or letter.
- Paint a small rock with an encouraging message and leave it in an appropriate place like a local park.
- Tell the grocery store clerks that you are praying for them.
- Personal growth efforts:
- Bible reading plan—more Bible knowledge will allow you to be more effective in witnessing.
- Bible memorization—you could memorize as a family focusing on verses about witnessing.
- Type out your own personalized gospel tract including your testimony and contact info.
- Research potential needs and make plans for ways to reach out when things start to open up again.
- Researching a false religion like the Jehovah’s Witness’s beliefs so that you can witness to the witnesses more effectively.
CONTRIBUTOR: Ryan Horst