This is a guest post by Brandon D. Myers (@brandon_myers).
The Lord calls us as Christians to make the most of every opportunity (Ephesians 5:15-16). In these unprecedented and strange times what should we do? More pointedly, as those under the risen and reigning Lord Jesus Christ, what can we do to be a blessing and represent our King by shining our lights through the practice of good deeds (Matthew 5:16; 1 Peter 2:12).
Here are 10 suggestions:
1. After your family, serve and prioritize your local church. Touch base with your closest friends or small group members. Continue to fellowship around God’s Word and prayer over the internet with those you are discipling. Reach out to the most recent man, woman or family you just met at church. If you do not have a way to contact these newer folks reach out to see if your pastor has their contact information. If you are not sure what to do or who to contact, check in with your pastor(s) and ask. Ask your pastor how he is and pray for him. Let him know that you are here. If you are able, keep giving financially.
2. Prepare to share the reason for the hope within you (1 Peter 3:14-16). It has been said before that “the best spontaneity is rehearsed.” How will you answer when your coworkers, family or neighbors ask, “How can you believe in a good God when so many seem to be suffering or dying?” What will you say when asked, “Why do you still trust in the Lord?” Now is a rare time when many will be searching for hope and because of Christ and His gospel. We can have an answer for them.
3. Check in on your neighbors, friends, and relatives. Obviously, be wise with social distancing but find a way to reach out and see what those around you need. Ask them how they are and find out how you can pray. Whether from your hometown growing up, your college years, or a first job, now is an opportunity to bless. Calls, texts, emails, or social media messages are great but consider doing Zoom or something else so you can see each other!
4. Learn new God-centered songs (Colossians 3:16). “What’er My God Ordains is Right” is one blasting in our home. For more check out Matt Merker’s excellent list of 25 Hymns to Sing in Troubled Times.
5. Read a classic Christian book (Philippians 4:8). The Rare Jewel of Christian Contentment by Jeremiah Burroughs, Peace and Holiness by Horatius Bonar, A Place of Healing by Joni Eareckson Tada, or Sickness by J.C. Ryle are especially relevant (free e-version here). There are hundreds of classic and free e-books available at websites like Monergism. J.C. Ryle also has some captivating and Christ-exalting Children’s Stories you could introduce others to.
Using your local public library you could access thousands of biblically faithful and free resources. Don’t want to spend the money just yet but want a Christian book, course, audiobook or teaching series? See if Hoopla has it.
6. Memorize Scripture as a small group or as a family (Psalm 119:11). Our family just began memorizing Psalm 23. What Scriptures are on your “list to memorize?” Take the time and devote yourself to God’s precious truth. Let it go through you and get into you. Take on larger passages that will fill you with peace, hope, and joy as you dwell on the truth that is within them. (Pastor Andy Davis has a really helpful booklet that can help you in this Scripture-memorizing endeavor.)
7. Begin or continue Family Worship (Ephesians 6:4). Take the extra time you have to learn the Lord’s Prayer, the Apostles Creed and the 10 Commandments as a family. Our church uses the New City Catechism. If you have kids (or are able to safely see your grandkids or nieces or nephews) jam out to Seeds Family Worship songs. They just produced a new song you should check out titled “I Believe.” Our family loves the “Jesus“ album but all their lyrics are Bible verses put to fun songs. “By Him” based on Colossians 1:16-17 is one of our family’s favorites.
8. Write an encouraging note to someone who has encouraged you in the faith (1 Thessalonians 5:11). It could be your pastor, small group leader, the faithful prayer warrior in your family, or a former youth leader who invested in you when you were young. These times can be very discouraging to us all, but they don’t have to be.
9. Contact those in high positions so you know how to pray for them (1 Timothy 2:1-2). Whether it is your local or state government or the local police or fire department see how you can help or pray. You can find out who represents you and contact them here.
Christian Focus’s Little Lights books are well loved in our home and work great for the youngest children to the oldest. For adults and older children consider watching John Piper’s Biographies are amazing in their breadth and accessibility. Many believers have suffered far worse than we have and can encourage us as we see how God used their suffering for His Kingdom and glory.
Take heart, sisters and brothers in Christ! Jesus has defeated sin and death and is on the throne. We will put our hope in Him and His work on the cross and the resurrection as we endure these strange times. May God grant you wisdom to make the most of every opportunity!