Seems like in every direction we look during this COVID-19 crisis we see once healthy things coming to an end. Jobs lost, businesses closing, retirement accounts thrashed… The hope is that life will quickly bounce back to the way it was once we get over the hump and get this virus under control.
Is this a realistic thought? A healthy thought?
Something in us makes us think that the known past is always better than the unknown future. We want the “good ole days” back, right? And we do need the good (jobs, businesses, savings)! But we seem to forget the troubles of those days, wanting to simply fall back into the comfort of the old way of doing things. It’s our nature. Is this the way of God?
“Jesus replied, “Now the time has come for the Son of Man to enter into his glory. 24 I tell you the truth, unless a kernel of wheat is planted in the soil and dies, it remains alone. But its death will produce many new kernels—a plentiful harvest of new lives. 25 Those who love their life in this world will lose it. Those who care nothing for their life in this world will keep it for eternity.
Jesus Christ speaking in John 12:23-25 (NLT)
Maybe this is a season to be sowing new seeds?
Jesus showed us that something must first die for there to be a harvest. If he had not relinquished his life, as bleak as this must have been then, where would we be now? Lost with no hope. A farmer knows he must sow a seed to gain a harvest. The seed must first die; he can’t get it back. If he tries to save the seed by not planting it, he gets nothing in return and he will starve. This is a fundamental principal of God’s laws of sowing and reaping:
Something must first die to gain a harvest.
“I am the true grapevine, and my Father is the gardener. 2 He cuts off every branch of mine that doesn’t produce fruit, and he prunes the branches that do bear fruit so they will produce even more.
Jesus Christ speaking in John 15:1-2 (NLT)
It seems counter-intuitive to cut back a thriving plant, but ask any gardener, “How do you get the most and best fruit?” and they will tell you that it requires pruning. Why? Because left alone, a plant will give you lots and lots of leaves but little fruit. Or you may get lots of fruit, but none of it of much value since the plant was forced to spread its nutrients to too far. This illustrates another aspect of God’s laws of sowing and reaping:
A harsh pruning can make a plant much more productive.
Take a look around and notice what is happening in our economy. In the midst of this severe pruning, new life is becoming apparent. A look at my financial advising office provides an example. Prior to the crisis, a group of a half dozen lower paid people trekked to work each day to sit at a desk to make phone calls, setting up appointments for financial advisors. A valuable service, no doubt. Now, they are working remotely from their homes providing the same service. Why did they have to make that trek every day, incurring parking costs, adding to traffic congestion, pollution, and wasting valuable time? This sort of change is happening all over, re-writing the way business is done. The crisis is forcing things to happen that may have taken years to take hold. Could it be time to position yourself to be part of the new growth opportunity?
There is death of the old ways, but there is vibrant new life already forming.
In terms of God’s Kingdom economy, notice what is happening. Church buildings all over are closed. In their place, Facebook Live interactive services. Many churches, historically quiet during the week, have added mid-week services on Facebook as well. Growth groups are meeting via Zoom. The Church (the people) goes on. Thriving? Are church buildings dead? Likely not, but perhaps much of what we have been doing is dead as a new vibrancy rises up, leveraging technology. Ironically, could this actually be creating greater intimacy?
My many years as an elder showed me that the cost of buildings is enormous. I wonder, could the lack of funds for buildings have limited the opportunity to save lives? My old church supported Vietnam church plants for many, many years. For buildings? No, but tens of thousands of lives now belong to Christ. Vibrant and for so little money. What is really needed to advance God’s Kingdom?
I remember hearing Francis Chan speak of a time when he and his team were reviewing plans for a new, huge building that would cost tens of millions of dollars. It hit him; would Jesus have had such a large church? It will be interesting to see what happens when the dust settles. I bet it most churches will not be the same, in a positive way. How could you engage in this time of fluid change?
New ways to reach more lives for the Kingdom are opening up.
Many are wondering where God is right now. “How could he allow this to happen?” But, ever think that God is at work in this?
“As the deer longs for streams of water,
so I long for you, O God.
2 I thirst for God, the living God.
When can I go and stand before him?
3 Day and night I have only tears for food,
while my enemies continually taunt me, saying,
“Where is this God of yours?”
4 My heart is breaking
as I remember how it used to be:
I walked among the crowds of worshipers,
leading a great procession to the house of God,
singing for joy and giving thanks
amid the sound of a great celebration!
5 Why am I discouraged?
Why is my heart so sad?
I will put my hope in God!
I will praise him again—
my Savior and 6 my God!”
King David in Psalm 47:1-6 (NLT)
In the midst of crisis, discouraged, with only tears for food, we turn to the final and ultimate source. When life is “good”, we don’t need God. The choice to seek God is laid now on the table, the latent deep thirst for him brought to the surface.
Do you see a fresh wave of people seeking God?
There is a tremendous openness to God now. Fresh new growth can take root with the clearing out of worldly idols that have failed to provide once again. Look for your opening to plant a seed, to grab hold of a new shoot that is springing up. Be part of the coming harvest. This is the time when you discover the true reason you are here right now.
Take notice of the new, vibrant future of the Kingdom of God. Plant yourself and enter into the Adventure God Made You For. Let’s talk.
Go to www.bobblackcoaching.com to schedule a free consultation.