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When the news began to break several weeks ago that the coronavirus was going to keep us “socially distanced” for the foreseeable future, my mind immediately jumped to some of my favorite people in the world: the group of seventh to twelfth graders I have the joy of pastoring. I started asking all kinds of questions: What if this causes us to get disconnected? What if the progress we’ve seen in so many of their lives is lost?
Soon, however, those “what-ifs” were replaced with a different set of “what-ifs.” What if God is giving us more time than ever to be with him? What if God took something as bad as the coronavirus and used it to spark a revival in the hearts of students?
In light of these questions, we adopted the motto, “Don’t waste your quarantine,” and began to challenge students to steward this time of quarantine well so that they can look back on it as a time of unprecedented growth in their love for the Lord.
In Luke 10, Jesus enters the village of Bethany and comes to the house of two sisters. One of the sisters, Mary, sits at Jesus’ feet, soaking up everything he has to say, but the other sister, Martha, “was distracted by her many tasks.” Jesus compassionately says to her, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and upset about many things, but one thing is necessary. Mary has made the right choice, and it will not be taken away from her.”
Do you ever feel like Martha, distracted by many tasks? Jesus wants you to know something today: busyness is not the same thing as faithfulness. While today’s tasks are important, only one thing is necessary, and that’s to be with him.
In light of this passage, we’ve given our students three challenges that may be helpful for you as well:
1) Make sure the good doesn’t keep you from the essential.
Martha wasn’t doing anything bad, right? She was serving. She was using her spiritual gifts. But Jesus is showing us that good things become bad things when they keep you from the most important things. He wants us to be with him before we serve him. C.S. Lewis said it this way: “Put first things first and you get second things thrown in. Put second things first and you lose both first and second things.”
2) Make space to talk to the Lord.
We have the tendency to overcomplicate things, but isn’t this what prayer really is anyway? Scripture tells us that God is our Father. When a child describes to their dad what their day was like, or when they ask him to do something for them, it’s not in the form of a perfectly prepared presentation. But it’s proof that the child trusts the father with what they’re going through!
3) Make space to listen to the Lord.
We may not be able to sit at Jesus’ feet physically, but we can sit at his feet as we open up the pages of his Word. Think about how incredible that is! He wants to speak to you on the pages of Scripture. So open up your Bible and sit at his feet. We don’t stand a chance against the temptations and schemes of the evil one (especially during a time of isolation) if we’re not armed with the truth of the Word.
The apostle Paul sums it up so well in Philippians 4:6-8, He says, “Don’t worry about anything, but in everything, through prayer and petition with thanksgiving, present your requests to God…Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable – if there is any moral excellence and if there is anything praiseworthy – dwell on these things.” Many of us are familiar with these words, but would it change the way you heard them today if you knew that Paul wrote them while under a two-year house arrest in Rome (talk about not wasting your quarantine)?
The call to redeem your quarantine is not just another obligation on your already busy schedule. It’s an invitation to the peace, satisfaction, and joy that’s found in the presence of Jesus. Don’t miss out on that invitation!
Looking for more inspiration? You can find curated resources and inspiration to bring you hope for today on our COIVD-19 resources page.
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Therefore encourage one another
and build each other up as you are already doing.
1 Thess 5:11 CSB