I hope and pray my email finds you doing well on this Wednesday. We seem to be moving, ever so slowly, closer and closer to how things used to be; although, I caution you to not be too quick to run back to your old normal as God is birthing a new normal for us day by day. In this new normal, coming forward in these most turbulent of times, our opportunities to be more loving, more patient, more kind, more Christian have become more available. What do I mean?
Who would have thought that we would all be in need of certain things? Money helps to buy food, clothing and shelter; but, money cannot buy toilet paper, paper towels, and napkins when none is on the shelves...no matter how much money you may have.
All of us have directly or indirectly been experiencing what it is like to be in need. You may have plenty in your house; but, what about your mama's house, what about your friend's house, what about your children's or grandchildren's house, what about your neighbor's house? Do they have all that they need?
I was at the grocery store yesterday, masked and socially distanced, and as I walked the aisles looking for what we needed, I passed down the paper products aisle and it was empty. If I needed something like toilet paper, paper towels or napkins, none was to be found. The paper product companies are running full time and producing more than ever; but, because some are fearfully hoarding, buying, taking more than they realistically need, others are left wanting.
Who would have thought? We are finding a way to put food on people's tables during this time. Thank you Lord for the faithful of Zion who helped feed the community yesterday at the Food Pantry. We are finding a way to clothe people and provide masks. Thank you Lord for the faithful of Zion who got and distributed masks for the community. But, when it comes to a very basic necessity, toilet paper, primarily, some people have continued to be in need, not that we do not have it to provide like food and clothing, but we may choose not to give.
When the church was birthed, people were like that. Some had and others lacked; but, something changed in the body of Christ. Jesus said that the poor would always be among us; but, Jesus never said that we should keep the poor in a state of perpetual poverty. Poverty was an opportunity to show and share God's love...and the church responded to that call.
Acts 4:32-33 reveals, "Now the whole group of those who believed were of one heart and soul, and no one claimed private ownership of any possessions, but everything they owned was held in common. With great power the apostles gave their testimony to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and great grace was upon them all."
Beloved, God has no problem with millionaires and billionaires the way that we sometimes do; but, God does sometimes have a problem with what they do with their millions and billions. Ownership says that what is mine is mine. Stewardship says that what is mine is what God has given me to use for His praise, His honor and His glory.
Having everything in common means that we relinquish our mindset of ownership and take on a mindset of stewardship, only possible by coming under the conviction of the Holy Spirit to repent of selfishness and be renewed by a desire for selflessness in emulation of the great selfless act of our Lord and Savior, Jesus the Christ.
Through the presence of Jesus in their lives, the church was birthed into something quite different. The people who had made sure that the people who lacked were provided for.
During this period of COVID-19, we have seen such a period of cooperation that truly opens minds, lifts hearts, and revitalizes spirits. It is almost like we needed a disaster, a global pandemic, to birth a revival of what it means to have all things in common.
We are all in this period together. Should we not all help each other through this period together? Should we not all, holistically, recognize that we are all in this together? Calamity and chaos, vaccination and cure. We are all in this together. We have all things in common.
Beloved, my hope and my prayer is that we do not lose the valuable opportunity in front of us to reimagine health, wealth, and relationships in a way that we will be stewards over all and not miserly owners of our temporal possessions that should be used to bring us together but can easily distract us from that truth and tear us apart.
For, in our togetherness, in our recognition that we have all things in common, there we will find the great grace of God in big things like medical discoveries and small things like toilet paper, paper towels, and napkins.
Beloved, I look forward to connecting with you in a few hours for Noonday Prayer. Stay connected. Stay safe. Stay healthy. Stay wise.
And, remember, God loves you and I love you too!