For many students, school is often the place where they feel cared for, accepted and fed. The absence of school also means the absence of life-giving resources. Sadly, I know that this feeling of lack is not only a stressor for school kids, but for many others facing job layoffs, shortage of supplies and hopelessness in this chaotic time.
Numerous care groups are popping up across Facebook and through personal emails. Amidst the chaos that has ensued, all social media outlets have been flooded with positive messages and calls to rise up and make a difference. We are seeing a unity among communities as people commit to getting through this together. As the events of our past week unfolded, I began to struggle with a nagging question: if non-believers are also rising up to offer and provide support to those in need, what makes us as Christ-followers different? The answer I heard the Lord speak to me was simple, “man shall not live by bread alone but by every word that comes from the life giving Word of God” Matthew 4:4 (italics mine). While
the world is rising up to give support in the form of positive messages, shopping and groceries, Christ-followers are called to bring something that will last far beyond this virus: The Bread of Life.
“Then Jesus declared, ‘I am the Bread of Life.
Whoever comes to Me will never go hungry,
and whoever believes in Me will never be thirsty’ ” (John 6:35 NIV).
So, what are some ways we can do this? Personally God has put on my heart two things, "one minute longer conversations" and Psalm 46:10.
Pastor Dan Cochrane has long instilled the term “one minute longer conversations” in the hearts of the body of CrossRoads Church. This means taking a conversation with those you meet beyond the standard “Hi how are you?” But, let me be honest with you, this is not always as easy for me as it should be. I get anxious about where this one minute might lead; I often feel inadequate and ill-equipped. However, in this critical time, I know the Lord is asking and thus empowering me to step out of my fear and into faith. This means getting my head out of the world and into His Word.
Life as we know it has come to a temporary stand still, and so too have I been able to stand still , or as God spoke to me once, "cease striving" (Psalm 46:10 NLT). Striving can mean "to struggle or fight vigorously" (Oxford Dictionary). In striving, I have been busy either vigorously fighting what God has asked of me because I don’t feel equipped or struggling to equip myself. In doing so, I have missed out on God’s ability and willingness to equip me. In these still times God is reminding me how He equips. It is through reading the Bible, praying more purposefully and listening more directly to His leading.
And so, stepping out in faith and feeling more equipped this week, I had the opportunity to push conversations with others a minute longer to a place of sharing hope filled messages with them. As a co-worker and I talked about COVID-19, she asked me, with worry in her eyes, what my church says about all that is going on. I told her of the hope we have because we know that God is still on the throne. I prayed, through text, for a non-Christian friend who is battling a different sort of illness. Saturday morning, via Google Hangouts (some newfangled-to me- form of social media) I told an eleven year old student of mine who daily battles low self worth, of the unconditional love of a God who made her with great worth and for a purpose; a God who does not make mistakes.
There are so many people in the world right now who have so little and need so much. People are stepping up to help and support in a number of gracious ways and it is encouraging and inspiring, but the things of this earth will not endure. People need more.
As Christ-followers we need to remember the importance of sharing not only a loaf of bread, but the Bread of Life.