When I was a very young man, I went to the movie theater to see a movie called, "It's a Mad Mad Mad Mad World." Since the film came out in late 1963, I must have been five years old… going on six. I didn't realize it at the time but that comedy film was packed with stars, Spencer Tracy, Edie Adams, Milton Berle, Sid Caesar, Buddy Hackett, Ethel Merman, Mickey Rooney, Phil Silvers, and Jonathan Winters. It was about the madcap pursuit of $350,000 in stolen cash by a diverse and colorful group of strangers. Though I remember only little bits of the movie, I remember it was funny watching the antics of those chasing the money. For that group of people, It really was a mad mad mad mad world.
Today, fifty-seven years later, I sit watching a “Mad Mad Mad Mad World” but this time it’s not a comedy, it’s not a fictitious story played out on the big screen, it’s real and it’s dangerous.
As Christians, this pandemic puts us in a unique situation. On March 16, 2020, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommended that during the next 15 days all events with more than 10 people should be canceled or held virtually. Most of the churches we attend have more than 10 people in attendance on Sunday morning. Yet, at the same time, Hebrews 10:25 says we are not to forsake the assembling of ourselves together. Now we are hearing through mass media that these limitations could continue for months. From everything I see, unless a successful treatment or vaccine is developed soon, the government will be forced to invoke more stringent quarantine and lockdown rules and laws to limit the number of Covid-19 cases and maintain the health of the populace.
Our response as Christians:
1st - COMPLIANCE:
As Christians, our response should be one of compliance as long as the laws of man do not conflict with the laws of God. Peter and John were told by Jewish authorities to cease their preaching and teaching about Christ (Acts 4 & 5), yet they disobeyed those civil orders because those orders were in direct conflict with God’s command to preach and teach the Gospel.
The civil order of the government for assemblies larger than 10 people to be canceled DOES NOT eliminate our ability to worship God. It does disrupt our normal routines of gathering as a larger group to collectively worship, but it does not eliminate our ability to worship God individually and/or collectively.
Jesus said, “For where two or three are gathered together in My name, I am there in the midst of them." Matthew 18:20.
The Apostle John, alone and unable to gather with the saints because the government of Rome had exiled him, said, “I, John, both your brother and companion in the tribulation and kingdom and patience of Jesus Christ, was on the island that is called Patmos for the word of God and for the testimony of Jesus Christ. I was in the Spirit on the Lord's Day,…” Revelation 1:9-10.
John was forced into solitude by a world power but it could not stop him from worshipping God on the Lord’s Day.
As Christians, we can comply with the government to help eliminate the threat of Covid-19 to the world. Actually, if you think about it, it is in our compliance that we do good and exercise the Golden Rule. I want everyone to be responsible here, stay home, and let this virus die out. That’s what I want them to do for me… I must also be willing to do that for others.
Gather with your family on the Lord’s day, get some unleavened bread, (a flour tortilla will work just fine), and fruit of the vine, listen to a streaming church service on Facebook, Good News Radio, or simply read the scriptures aloud, sing a hymn or two, pray, commune with the Lord through the Lord’s Supper, and set aside your contribution for the church or give online.
2nd - SERVE:
There are plenty of older people who are shut-in now, and they are afraid to go out. They have heard that Covid-19’s highest mortality rate is among the elderly who have weaker immune systems. Call them, get their shopping list and go to the grocery store for them. Go pick up their prescriptions for them. Find someone you can serve during this difficult time and be a servant.
For those who have lost their jobs temporarily and may be struggling financially… help them with food and if possible, with funds.
This is an opportunity for young people to be a light to the world. Instead of heading to the beach for Spring Break and to volley this virus among yourselves and then take it home to your families, find someone to serve and help. Obey the group restrictions imposed by the government to protect others.
Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven. Mat 5:16
3rd – REPENT:
In 2 Chronicles 7:13-14 God made this statement; “When I shut up heaven and there is no rain, or command the locusts to devour the land, or send pestilence among My people, if My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.
I’m not saying that this worldwide pestilence is from God or some type of punishment from Him… but it could be. The God of the Bible does, in fact, discipline His people… He is not JUST a God of Love who will ignore persistent sin.
Max Lucado recently said that perhaps this is God's way of getting the world's attention... to remind us of just how frail we are... that we put our trust in God.
As a country and as individuals, we need to humble ourselves and turn back to God. We must turn from any wicked ways that plague our Christian lives and pray for God’s mercy and grace. God will hear and He will forgive.
4th – TRUST:
God is in control! He always has been and He always will be!
And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. Romans 8:28 NASV