In elementary school, every student wanted to be the one chosen by the teacher at the end of the school day for a particular task. The task – gathering the chalkboard erasers, taking them outside, and beating them together to clean the chalk residue off from the day’s classroom activities. It was a dusty, mouth-drying, eye-watering, nostril-filling job and almost every student wanted, longed, craved to be the one selected. To a six, seven, eight-year-old child, it was the highest honor possible. When my day came, I remember it well. It was a moment of outstanding pride. I stood my three-foot frame up from my desk, shoulders back, head held high, and walked to the front of the room as if I were 6 feet tall.
In recent weeks the term “shelter in place” has become synonymous with the Coronavirus. But I want to suggest a different premise for the term. Could it be that we the people of the church have relied for the last couple of decades, on church buildings as our shelter in place from the outside world? Have we created havens for our spiritual comfort? We join together for weekly meetings with one another, to hear God’s word, fellowship with like-minded and like-looking peers, safe from the outside world. Then we go out into the world feeling good about our reverent gatherings.
Certainly, our society is changing. Morals as you and I knew them are no longer in vogue. It seems hate has been escalating for more than a decade, ever-accelerating in 2020. Let’s face it, the world today can seem to be a frightening, daunting locale.
As Christ-followers we must remember this world is not our home. We are but visitors, out of town guests. Strangers, yet called by God to always be relevant to the culture around us. God has not been caught off guard. He has known 2020 would be this way. And He has always known you would be living right where you are in the middle of all that is 2020. Now, let me tell you why that should be encouraging to each one of us.
As we know it, according to the biblical timeline, the world is a little more than 5,000 years old. God knew you before He knit you together in your mother’s womb (Psalm 139:13-14). God knew before the foundation of the world what 2020 would look like. And He knew you would be living here, representing Him this year. Read those last 2 sentences again. Of all the past 5,000 years and any to come, God chose you to represent Him in 2020 right here, in the U.S.A. God chose YOU!
That is an amazing thought. It is an honor that far exceeds beating two chalkboard erasers together. And we should treat it as such an honor. What will be your prayer today and every day this week as you look to treat 2020 as your special blessing and honor in serving God?
George Yates is the Church Health Strategist for the Alabama Baptist State Board of Missions, assisting churches and individuals in pursuing God’s purpose for life. Learn more at ALSBOM.org/revitalization.