by James Collins
“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 was recently laid off. She worked for a business that shut down because the government said it was “nonessential.” Because she lost her job, she can barely 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 that 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 even 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 eighty-five years, but she has never 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 that 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.
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 Doritos and binge-watch “Tiger King” on Netflix 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 whom God brings into our path. All around us there are hurting people who are longing for a “cup of cold water” in Jesus name.
You see, this world has a problem that is much worse than the coronavirus. This world has a sickness called sin. Sin has a one-hundred-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. And the cure for sin-sickness is the gospel – the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
The point is: 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 a pastor, writer, and columnist. Find out more about his ministry at www.thepointis.net.