by James A. Washington
Back when we could assemble in church, I was blessed to hear the pastor try to address the fears many of us might have gone through these tough times with the economy and the uncertainty which permeates the world today. He talked about famine, fire, terrorists, recession, the mortgage crisis, and the like; all of those worldly issues that might keep you up at night. Let me add COVID-19 to further emphasize my point.
‘Social Distancing Cannot Replace Spiritual Clarity’ SPIRITUALLY SPEAKING I was moved at an analogy he made regarding how we go through life and how we all ultimately leave it. The pastor spoke of a man that he knew who had acquired a great deal of stuff in his lifetime only to have to get rid of some of it as age forced him to move into an assisted-care living facility. The man was moved into a nursing home and then again finally into a hospice care center.
Each time the man had to get rid of more and more of his stuff. His children early on in the process sometimes had garage sales to rid themselves of “Dad’s stuff;” those things they didn’t want. They, of course, kept some things, and more often than not, as the man grew sicker and time went by, his children threw more and more of this man’s stuff away.
One day, the pastor went to visit him in the hospice center only to see the sum total of the man’s possession neatly kept into a garbage bag to certainly be thrown out when the man died. The pastor was struck at how little the man had left as the pastor personally remembered how much stuff the man had accumulated at one time, which was indeed substantial. And you know what? When the man died, he didn’t even get to take his garbage bag full of stuff with him.
The pastor’s point, as is mine, is that we spend an awful lot of time trying to accumulate stuff and then more time worrying about losing it, when in fact, we worship a God who does not give us this worry or accepts this fear. There is joy in knowing, or at least there should be, in knowing that the God we serve does indeed supply all of our needs. Now, this doesn’t mean that our day to day struggles aren’t real. We know they are. But how we deal with them was the point of the sermon.
I have come to believe 2 Corinthians 12: 9-10. God shows out in our times of weakness. If we recognize and understand our stuff is really not all that important, then God shows up with ample supply; our manna for the day if you will. If you’re honest with yourself, He has up until this point in your life. The angst of today’s problems should be replaced with the peace of mind that when the world is out of control, God isn’t.
Now, where do you choose to put your energy, circle your wagons, demonstrate your faith? In the world? Or, in God? Social distancing cannot ever be a substitute for spiritual togetherness. That question where you put your focus in times of trouble is only of importance if you are unsure of the answer. Worry comes with the world. And, the world, by design is chaotic.
Peace of mind comes with the Lord because the Lord is anything but. “Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves. Do you not realize that Christ is in you unless, of course, you fail the test?
And I trust that you will discover that we have not failed the test.” (2 Corinthians 13:5-6)
Now with the knowledge that Christ is in you, take another look at the chaos and devastation the world is going through. Please let go right now and let God. The stuff in your garbage bag is going to be left behind anyway. When you arrive in heaven, you will not have any luggage.
May God bless and keep you always.
(James A. Washington is a father, husband, Christian, writer, entrepreneur and owner/publisher of t he Dallas Weekly.