“And he said unto them, ‘Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature’” (Mark 16:15).
Lois is a secretary. She recently was laid off. She worked for a business that shut down because the government said it was “nonessential.” Because she lost her job, she barely can make ends meet. Her husband left her. She has a son in rebellion. Her life is spinning out of control. She cries out for help. We don’t hear.
Stan works in a local factory. Even though he has a job and is surrounded by people, he feels alone. The mask his employer requires him to wear makes him feel even more isolated. He longs for a friend. We are deaf to his cries.
Ed owns a gas station in town. His wife died last month. Because of COVID-19, the family couldn’t have a funeral. Ed has struggled with depression since his wife passed away. His eyes echo his loneliness, but we don’t see. He misses her listening ear. If only there were someone who would talk to him, but our ears are closed.
Hattie lives in a local assisted care facility. She has lived through so much in her 85 years, but she never has seen anything like what is happening in the world today. For the past two months, she has felt like a prisoner.
Hattie has been locked away in her room. Even her meals are brought to her. The only people she sees are the nurses and orderlies who come by two or three times a day. At first, a few family members and some friends from church called to check on her, but those calls have stopped. Secretly, Hattie longs for death, but we don’t care.
Seeing while not doing
We saw our neighbor, Lois, sitting on her porch across the street, but we didn’t say, “Hello.”
We saw Stan at work, but because of “social distancing,” we didn’t even speak.
We filled up the car at Ed’s gas station, but we were in too much of a hurry to chat.
Hattie is our grandmother, but who has time to call?
We had to hurry home to have the perfect ending to our self-centered day. So, we kick back in our chair with a bag of chips and binge-watch a streaming hit show as we pat ourselves on the back for “staying home and staying safe.”
Jesus told us to, “Go into all the world, and preach the gospel to everyone.”
However, we are in such a hurry to “go” that we miss the very ones God brings into our path. All around us are hurting people longing for a “cup of cold water” in Jesus’ name.
The problem we all have
This world has a problem much worse than the coronavirus. This world has a sickness called sin. Sin has a 100 percent mortality rate. Each of us has this disease, and it is killing us. However, there is a cure.
God was “socially isolated” in heaven where there was no sickness, but he came to earth in the person of Jesus Christ. Jesus entered a pandemic—a sin-sick world. He was crucified and died on an old rugged cross. His dead body was buried, but three days and nights later, Jesus rose from the dead.
The cure for sin-sickness is the gospel—the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
If you are a believer in Jesus Christ, you are to “go” and share the gospel, but you don’t have to be a missionary overseas.
Open your eyes to the people God has put in your path. Speak to your neighbor. Be a friend to that guy at work. Pay attention to the man behind the counter. Call your grandma.
You could be the person God uses to change a life forever.
James Collins is the pastor of Fort Scott’s First Southern Baptist Church. This article was published first in the print edition of The Fort Scott Tribune and on Collins’ blog, The Point Is … . The views expressed are those solely of the author.