Taking Care Of Each Other
Have you ever said, “I don’t know how people in the world cope without God?” We usually ponder this when we are under pressure, struggling with something weighty and feeling our need for close communion with God. In such times we are aware of how challenging life can be with God; how would we cope without Him? No one to pray to; no one with greater strength and wisdom to rely on; no one to hope in beyond this earthly existence.
We might say the same about our brethren: “I don’t know how people in the world cope without fellow believers who love them and care for them.” While we should feel this way all of the time, we are presently in the midst of a crisis that heightens our appreciation of each other. Can you imagine dealing with this pandemic without a spiritual family around you? No one to support you in the loss of income; no one to care about you if stricken with the virus; no one to help you recover after this disaster passes.
Even though we are separated by social-distancing directives, we have a bond between us that runs deep. We know we have a network of brothers and sisters to support us if our situation becomes severe or even dire. In communications with the congregation, several have proactively offered to help anyone in need. Such people are like the Macedonians: “Imploring us with much urgency that we would receive the gift and the fellowship of the ministering to the saints” (II Cor. 8:4).
Comparing the church to a physical body, Paul wrote that “there should be no schism in the body, but that the members should have the same care for one another. And if one member suffers, all the members suffer with it; or if one member is honored, all the members rejoice with it” (I Cor. 12:25-26). The present distress should remind us that what we have in common is far more important than our petty differences. We need to assist each other in hard times, but more than that we need to know that we have each other’s backs, that even when all is going well we have confidence that we will be cared for if things go off the rails.
“Uncle Sam” might send us stimulus checks or offer low-interest loan to get our businesses back on their feet, but he isn’t really family. To him we are only a Social Security number, a nameless “citizen.” But to our fellow brethren we are loved, prayed for, encouraged, provided for as needed. This is an irreplaceable strength and comfort, one that we need to cultivate in times of peace and prosperity.
[Real-life application: As I was writing this, Kevin Pulliam emailed with news of his mother being admitted to the intensive care unit with respiratory issues. She has recently lost her husband and brother. Please keep the Pulliams in your prayers. She cannot have visitors due to the coronavirus.]