During our recent stay in southern Florida, we were in the middle of orange grove country. I naively thought that we could buy oranges and make our own fresh orange juice. I took a juicer and just salivated thinking of the delicious drink we were going to enjoy. The first day there, we went to a nearby farmer’s market in the groves anticipating the fresh vegetables and fruits we could buy and enjoy. To my great surprise, they didn’t even sell their oranges-they were from California and everything was very expensive. The same was true in the grocery stores. Those groves supplied the orange juice factories nearby and what was available for local consumption was fairly expensive. It reminded me of “The Rime of the Ancient Mariner” when the sailor on a becalmed ship is surrounded by saltwater and he says, “Water, water everywhere. Nor any drop to drink.”
Our dear country has a similar problem. We have local churches dotting the landscape of most of our towns and cities and yet we haven’t given the population that which can help them in this time of crisis. Jesus said, “Come unto me all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” (Matthew 11:28). How are people coping with the constant bad news the coronavirus pandemic brings? We are bombarded with reports of both anticipated and realized deaths, warnings to stay isolated, and hopelessness without an antibiotic to combat this awful virus.
The church needs to let the community know that there is hope in Jesus. It doesn’t matter what happens if they can have hope in the creator God who controls everything. What has happened is no surprise to Him. He allowed it and He knows the consequences and the outcome. If anyone has a Sunday School background, he probably knows the stories of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses, Gideon, and Lazarus and many more; let us use these stories to remind people of how God has worked, and how He continues to work in the world. Share a word of promise from Scripture and help to bring light to a world that is looking for hope.
Most churches have outside billboards where they can post Scripture that will be an encouragement to those who drive by. Put ads of hope in the local papers with promises from God. Use your website as a place of comfort, courage and optimism. The church is not just for members but is commanded to be an outreach to the world. Now is a good opportunity to remind them of why they are in the world. Pastor Slutz just said in a recent message, “When you abandon faith, you have nothing left but fear.”