I was just sitting here reflecting on how covid has changed me. What am I going to learn from Covid and keep, as we move forward, and what will I embrace from pre Covid days? There is one scripture that seems to have stayed in the forefront of my mind throughout the pandemic, so I’m going to write from that perspective.
Don’t burn out; keep yourselves fuelled and aflame. Be alert servants of the Master, cheerfully expectant. Don’t quit in hard times; pray all the harder. Help needy Christians; be inventive in hospitality. (Romans 12:11-13 - The Message)
Don’t burn out; keep yourselves fuelled and aflame. The world had come to a stop, and I had more than enough time to stop and smell the roses. I needed outside contact, I needed motivation and purpose to keep going. How was I going to do this?
Be alert servants of the Master, cheerfully expectant. It was time to set priorities and discover how to bloom where I was planted. It was a challenge.
Don’t quit in hard times; pray all the harder. Help needy Christians; be inventive in hospitality. This is what I did as I’m sure you did as well. We drew on our inner strength, found ways to be helpful, and learned some awesome creative ways to do those things that were important to us.
I looked up the cliche, "Stop and smell the roses." There were seventy-seven ways listed to say the same thing. I chose seven I could relate to; achieve fulfillment, amuse oneself, appreciate the beauty of life, appreciate the good things in life, be at ease, be at leisure, be in the moment.
My goal became achieving fulfillment while smelling the roses. I’m keeping this goal after the pandemic. Pre pandemic I think I was caught in a vicious whirlwind of achieving fulfillment no matter the cost. It’s more of an attitude change than anything else. My work ethic will be the same but I’ve come to realize that if God gives me a job to do, He will also give me the time and resources to do it. Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. 16 Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts. 17 And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. (Colossians 3:15-17)
Seems to me that sounds like “trust Me and take time to smell the roses”. I came to a much better understanding of what the church is during the pandemic. I saw so many in Valley choosing their area of interest and making a commitment to make that part of the bigger church continue to function. What we can do is find that small group that we fit into and know that there are other small groups within the church contributing their special attributes to make Valley unique and whole. We don’t have to do everything. In fact there are others, who because of their particular interest, are far more capable than I of doing certain things. We all need to find our passion and bring it to God for his use. Team up with others with similar interests and see what God will do. You don’t need to labour where your heart isn’t. The church has many hearts and everything will get done without you burning out.
The picture will vary for each of you individually. For me, here is what I have learned and where I am headed. I believe we all need personal, close relationships within the church where we can contribute our individual talents. We also need a way to incorporate our Christian values into our daily living so we are constantly evangelizing to our spheres of influence. In my case that would be my family, my church family, my friends and neighbours, and my internet connections. This last one seems strange but I feel it is very important. It is new and it holds great potential for evangelizing and supporting people from a distance. This will be my post pandemic priority.
The Tender Loving Care group (TLC) has been a learning process throughout the pandemic. We tried a variety of formats and it was frustrating at times. However, despite the fact that we did lose some members, we gained new ones. We learned that daily contact and bible studying daily together was a good combination. In fact so good we will keep this format post pandemic. There is a need for a better understanding of the computer and we will teach each other once we can meet in person. We will be ready to reach out to all parts of the world, no matter where we are planted. Isolation is not a part of our future.
Essentially, TLC morphed into what I believe is a small group; a group of people with common interests who meet together to support, encourage and pray for each other. In addition, the group is part of the church and we look forward to being able to join the larger body of Christ each Sunday. Your idea of what the church should be may be way different than mine. Whatever it is, there are others like you. Find them, join with them for support and encouragement and bring your passion into reality. There is room for all personalities and the church is richer for our differences.