Necessity: The Mother Of Invention

What new ability, outlook or positive change has the coronavirus pandemic sparked in you? I’ll start.

It is no secret that I am a technological dinosaur. I occasionally hand my phone to someone to bring it under subjection. I use maybe 2 percent of my computing capability. I tend to learn the basics and then stay in my comfort zone. Yet here I am live-streaming sermons (thanks to Mike McKinsey). Ah, Necessity, thou art the Mother of Invention.

Inertia is not merely a property of physics; it describes the human resistance to change. We may be reluctant to take on new challenges, to alter the balance of life even for potential gain. “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” can be wise advice, but it may also rationalize stagnation. When we get too comfortable, we may need a swift kick in the pants to get us moving.

I don’t know the internal thought process of the early Jerusalem Christians, but they could be excused for wanting to huddle together under the apostles’ watchful care and strengthen each other against the hostility of unbelieving Jews. But Necessity came along in the person of Saul of Tarsus who “made havoc of the church, entering every house, and dragging off men and women, committing them to prison” (Acts 8:3).

The stoning of Stephen was the catalyst of outright warfare against the church, and the Lord used it as a goad to foster the spread of the gospel from the heights of Mount Zion: “Therefore those who were scattered went everywhere preaching the word” (Acts 8:4). Forced relocations are not typically pleasant, but they often broaden our horizons.

Two exhortations:

1) If you tend to lean toward pessimism, learn to see stress, inconvenience and even hardship in a more positive light. Rather than focus on the negative, consider what God can do with perceived setbacks.

Scriptures are full of examples where God’s people were threatened by political, military or ideological foes, challenged with extreme hardship, depleted of physical and emotional resources, or confronted with astronomical odds – yet triumphed through the power and providence of God. “For when I am weak, then I am strong” (II Cor. 12:10).

2) Pray for wisdom to see where change or improvement is needed before being forced to it by circumstances. This is easier said than done. Various entities in our country knew we were not prepared for a viral pandemic, but no one seriously undertook stockpiling personal protective equipment and ventilators or implemented quarantine protocols for schools and businesses.

Contingency planning seems like a waste of time – until the crisis comes. “A prudent man foresees evil and hides himself; the simple pass on and are punished” (Prov. 27:12).

Each of us is sitting on a lode of untapped potential; our capability far exceeds our productivity. Thank God for Necessity, for it is often the catalyst of progress.