Hi, Ministry Partners. Greetings and peace in the name of Jesus the Christ. It has been just over two weeks since I produced the last blog for posting on the SWD Media site, From The Superintendent’s desk. I had committed to producing a daily blog as one of my SWD Superintendent’s goals for the second quarter of 2020, 2020 Q2 Goals. That goal has been revised to produce 12 blogs for 2020 Q3 Goals.
Today, I want to visit with you about using “Common Sense” in these uncommon circumstances in which we find ourselves. Please do not be alarmed by my post. That is not its intention. Our God has provided for us with an eternal blessing of life forevermore. We are not bound by the circumstances and moments of this age. So, even a worst-case scenario, while momentarily painful for us and our families, does not remove the joy and peace we have in Jesus Christ, as we FOCUS ON JESUS AND FOLLOW HIS PLAN. But it is not wise to deny the facts. More than 3,716,100 people in the United States have been infected with the coronavirus and at least 139,800 have died, according to a New York Times database. It is likely the numbers are higher, but that is not known. Also, it is a fact according to the same source, the daily average for this week now past is more than twice what it was in the first peak of this pandemic in the United States of America, when it caused the governments, federal, state, and local to impose social distancing and quarantines. The earlier peak was about 30,000 new cases daily and this past week the daily average was over 65,000 new cases daily.
However, it is simply not feasible to “shut-down the economy” again. That opportunity to make a difference has passed by us and we are now left in a dire circumstance wherein we need to learn how to navigate in this set of circumstances in which we find ourselves.
My encouragement to you in simple common-sense terms are numbered below.
- Do not get caught up in the political agendas driving the misconceptions regarding making decisions for yourselves, your family, and those you serve. Politicians have their reasons for wanting to deny the reality of the circumstances in which we live or for promoting restraints that are not the best for us and society. It is not beneficial to attempt to place blame or deny reality. That we have had poor leadership in high places is obvious and beyond debate. But focusing on it is a distraction from what we need to be doing.
- Learn to be a good follower of things that do not compromise your leadership so you can be a great leader for those you serve. Yes, some measures are debatable about their degree of effectiveness. But that debate is not important. Stop debating measures recommended by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, CDC, and simply do them. Forget suggested conspiracies and know those people are making the best decisions they can make in the moment. Their worthiness or lack thereof will be revealed later. However, is there really anything wrong with 1) washing your hands often, 2) not touching your face with your hands while in public, 3) wearing a mask in public (unless it somehow is threatening to the person wearing it such as difficulty breathing or too young to communicate a problem), avoiding people breathing towards you or on you as much as possible and not breathing on those with whom you come in contact, 4) not going into public if you have symptoms of COVID-19, and 5) avoiding prolonged exposure to people in larger gatherings especially if it does not allow for adequate social distancing? Be a good neighbor, that is biblical. Illustration: Let’s take a negative approach to this consideration. Perhaps you don’t think you should be forced to wear a mask, so you choose to show your independence and refuse to wear one in public. Well, you have shown you are independent. But what does it do to your testimony to someone needing to hear the gospel and they happen to believe, like sensible people, that others wearing a mask stops most of the droplets and germ carrying air from being breathed on them? They may not have the need for expressing independence about being asked to wear a mask in public and if you are that kind of person you may have just prevented your testimony from being received for that person’s salvation. Which is more important to you, expressing your own sovereignty or serving the cause for which God has called you? Now, please don’t be offended with me. I don’t think that of you. It was just an illustration to drive home the point of willingly giving up some of our freedoms that actually mean nothing in the cause of the Great Commission to which we have been called. The Apostle Paul said he had become all things to all people whereby some might be saved. Let us follow that example.
- Before every activity, evaluate the risk you are likely to encounter. Again, that is biblical, count the cost of whatever you are going to do. As an illustration, I had a felt need to attend Church services a couple of weeks ago for a Local Church where the risk factors were low at that moment. It was just as things were being allowed to reopen in a major way. I expected there would be a tremendous rise in COVID-19 cases and the area where I wanted to go had not yet been hit. So, I attended the services, followed safe practices as best as I could, and returned to my home environment as quickly as possible. The results were neither I nor those I served suffered any harm. It was not guaranteed that would be the outcome. But the risk versus the benefit was in the right ratio, so I did it. Since then that area has also had a spike in COVID-19 cases, and I would not repeat that exercise.
- Accept the circumstances wherein we find ourselves are beyond our control. So, we need to learn how to live with them while they are here and neither deny them or think we can control something which is not in our control. Think of the coronavirus as day and night. Not a one of us can stop the day and night cycle. It is just there. But we have learned to live with it. We either limit what we do to “fit” the time of day or night, or we change the affect of the situation through artificial means, like using lights in the dark so we can keep working or pulling the shades to make rest during the day more comfortable. Likewise, we can use “safe practices” to allow us to live in an environment which is tainted with the coronavirus. Denying the strength of the coronavirus is like standing outside on a sunny day and screaming to everyone, “It isn’t light out here. It is dark.” The facts are the facts, don’t waste time debating them, use commonsense to live the best you can within them.
- Pray for your leaders and make your best decisions, while expecting new ways and means to emerge to help deal with this problem. Yes, it would be nice to have strong national, state, and local leadership that would give us clear messages instead of debating between themselves over issues that carry such serious consequences for everyone. However, lacking that, love your leaders with the love of the Lord, pray for them to make quality decisions, and you make better decisions than they do when necessary. It is likely the strength of the coronavirus and the lack of discipline of the American people will result in measures being taken to assist you in making better decisions regardless of leaders’ agendas. Watch for those benefits when they come and welcome them to help you make better decisions. For instance, if daily at home COVID-19 tests become available, use them as needed to know where you are personally in the pandemic and how you should conduct yourself. Promote a community attitude of doing that which is best for others by doing what you can do yourself. Likely a vaccine will someday be developed, but life goes on and we can make it better for us and those around us.
- Find new ways for doing traditional tasks and quickly adopt ways others have developed for doing common things differently. If you cannot have fellowship face-to-face, then use the phone or social media to foster the permanency of your relationships in the family, Church, and community.
- Find a way to serve others. Having purpose and giving to others is necessary for the best peace, joy, and satisfaction. It is not finding ways of blessing yourself. Use your Sabbath School Quarterlies as Bible Study guides and lead Bible Studies with others via social media if necessary. Order something a neighbor needs and have it delivered or take it to their home and leave it without making physical contact. Share with others how they can have Christian fellowship with your Local Church or a Bible Study Leader. Use the Great Commission and Great Commandment to let people know you love the Lord and both the Lord and you are interested in their eternal well-being.
Go. Be strong and courageous in Jesus Christ. Our Lord is with us in this and everything we do which is done in accordance with his will. You already know I love you. And for your leaders, if you did not know it, I also trust you. Yes, be strong and courageous in Christ our Lord. Focus on Jesus and Follow His Plan.