Today we close this series on Global Perspectives. While it’s sad to transition to other perspectives in the days ahead, it’s been so refreshing to get my eyes off myself and my concerns to see what the Lord Jesus is doing in others around the world. Julie Sanders began this series helping us see what can learn from Covid-19, and I’ve asked her to write the last article in this series to help us keep our eyes on Global Perspectives going forward.
How COVID19 is Teaching us What’s Essential
Most of us thought we knew the meaning of essential. Now we’re not sure. FEMA says, “Essential services are the services and functions that are absolutely necessary, even during a pandemic. They maintain the health and welfare of the municipality. Without these services, sickness, poverty, violence, and chaos would likely result.” We’re making decisions about essential travel, services, businesses, supplies, even essential medical care. We’re used to having a lot. It hasn’t all been essential.
No one wanted to learn the essence of “essential” this way. It would be more comfortable to learn from a book, highlighter in hand, coffee in cup, and extra toilet paper in closet. But God captured our global attention, turning our hearts to know our needs in ways we didn’t know we didn’t know.
The Essential Question
We were packing to move when the State Department issued a Level 4 travel advisory. Between decisions about what to keep or take, we counseled others about what to carry on scarce international flights. “Only take what you need,” we said to team mates and ourselves.
On the day we packed the truck, it didn’t all fit. Jeff asked, “What’s essential?” It was a good question.
On both sides of the world, we wrestled with the Essential Question. COVID demands, “What matters most everyday and eternally?”
In a matter of weeks, our budgets and our schedules have all been impacted. Instead of spending with wants in mind, we’re stewarding resources with needs in mind.
Our Heavenly Father knows our needs. He designed physical, emotional and spiritual needs to work together. Everyday life a place to exercise the essentials.
God wants us to ask the questions He knows the answers to.
- What things are necessary?
- How much is essential?
- Where do we use resources He’s given?
- Who needs what we have?
- Why is this useful in the Kingdom?
Police in Bosnia ordered a ministry to refugees to stop cooking out of their kitchen. The national leader considered what was truly essential, asking permission to distribute pre-packaged food. At greater cost, the congregation sacrificed their already strained budget to provide basic supplies.
- Review your budget, asking God to remind you of where your supply comes from.
- Ask God to help you see what is essential from His perspective.
- Ask God to help you understand needs vs. wants and trust Him to care for you.
“So don’t worry, saying, ‘What will we eat?’ or ‘What will we drink?’ or ‘What will we wear?’ … your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be provided for you.” (Matthew 6:31-33)
By now, we know this isn’t a staycation. This is a blank slate. At home, we can create a new normal. In how we live privately, we have the opportunity to put the most important things in place. What will we include in this current COVID lifestyle that will last?
- When a four year old Rohingya child began to run a high temperature, Live Global partner S had a decision to make. While most would stay away, he and his wife decided he would go. Greeted by a worried mother in a full black burka, a sign of her Muslim faith, S let eternity determine his actions.
- When the government issued stay home orders to an impoverished region, panic buying ensued. National partners considered their resources and the needs. They assessed what it would take to buy basic supplies for each slum home they serve. They know supplying everyday resources opens doors for eternity.
- When a Live Global prayer warrior heard about increased needs and increased limitations, she used her resources. From her fixed income she sent a gift, and with her abilities on social media, she shared the needs and asked for prayer. Going further, she wrote a message of encouragement to the leaders, encouraging them to stand firm. Instead of letting age or confinement be a restriction, she used her new normal to make an eternal difference.
In this unprecedented time, all nations are asking the same question, “What’s essential?” Everyone is thinking about what matters most in life and in death. More than before we heard of COVID19, everyone knows — eternity is essential.
In our new normal, the Gospel goes out in new ways.
- Inform your prayers: read missions letters, use the news, ask good questions.
- Encourage the body: use technology, write notes to let people know you’re praying.
- Stay engaged: gather as the church through technology.
- Be still: If you don’t know how to pray, let the Spirit pray for you.
- Protect the opportunity: refuse to let distractions hijack what God is doing.
We could use our energy worrying about having enough in store for what we don’t know what’s in store. But, “For what does it benefit someone to gain the whole world and yet lost his life?” (Mark 6:36).
When we look back at this, let’s say we lived for what was essential in our everyday lives and in the expectation of eternity.
Would you consider supporting the work the Sanders are doing? Visit https://www.abwe.org/work/support and type in “Sanders.” You’ll be able to give directly to them as they share good news in a troubled world.