5 Or do you suppose that scripture is meaningless? Doesn’t God long for our faithfulness in the life he has given to us? 6 But he gives us more grace. This is why it says, God stands against the proud, but favors the humble. 7 Therefore, submit to God. Resist the devil, and he will run away from you. 8 Come near to God, and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners. Purify your hearts, you double-minded. 9 Cry out in sorrow, mourn, and weep! Let your laughter become mourning and your joy become sadness. 10 Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up.
11 Brothers and sisters, don’t say evil things about each other. Whoever insults or criticizes a brother or sister insults and criticizes the Law. If you find fault with the Law, you are not a doer of the Law but a judge over it. 12 There is only one lawgiver and judge, and he is able to save and to destroy. But you who judge your neighbor, who are you? (James 4:5-12, Common English Bible).
It is a strange time we live in. It is a stranger world. Twenty years ago was the world-wide scare that when we turned on our computers they were going to all blow up and somehow deprive us of oxygen so I better run out and buy every can of green beans a my local grocery store so I will have something to eat when the power goes out but I forgot to buy a hand operated can opener so now I am sitting in the dark with no oxygen and no food to eat because I forgot the can opener and don’t know another way to get into the can. And yes, I do know I took away all the oxygen so I am dead anyway.
I don’t mean to sound flippant. We are facing a serious time. Cindy found some meme on Facebook a few days ago. She has posted quite a bit on her Facebook page recently. Hey, she has a new granddaughter and it is in the Granny contract. She has to post pictures. Then if you add Sydney’s scare, there was a lot for me to go through and it took me a bit to find it. It listed crisis’s we have faced in the new millennium. Take a look at the list:
- 2000 Y2K
- 2001 Anthrax
- 2002 West Nile Virus
- 2003 SARS
- 2005 Bird Flu
- 2006 E coli
- 2008 Economic instability
- 2009 Swine Flu
- 2010 BP Oil Spill
- 2012 The end of the Mayan calendar
- 2013 War with North Korea
- 2014 Ebola
- 2015 Disney Measles (I don’t remember this one)
- 2015 ISIS
- 2016 Zika Virus
- 2020 Corona Virus
All of that and more. That list doesn’t include dangers of overhead power lines, cell phones and cancer, and nitrates and cancer. There is more still. Dangerous shampoos and cancer, aspartame, and my list could go on and on.
I am not being flippant and I am not saying any of these things are not real issues. They are very real issues that impact very real people’s lives. What I am saying is, there is always something to threaten us. Somethings are more serious than others. Covid19 is a serious one.
Most of us try to live faithfully. I reached a conclusion some time ago that most of us are going to worry about something. I am not sure why, but I don’t worry much about things like health scares. I tend to worry more about having enough money in retirement to live out the rest of my life in the lifestyle I enjoy.
I am also well aware that my worries, really any worries put us in a position of contradiction with Scripture. Look at the words Matthew credits Jesus with saying.
25 “Therefore, I say to you, don’t worry about your life, what you’ll eat or what you’ll drink, or about your body, what you’ll wear. Isn’t life more than food and the body more than clothes? 26 Look at the birds in the sky. They don’t sow seed or harvest grain or gather crops into barns. Yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Aren’t you worth much more than they are? 27 Who among you by worrying can add a single moment to your life? 28 And why do you worry about clothes? Notice how the lilies in the field grow. They don’t wear themselves out with work, and they don’t spin cloth. 29 But I say to you that even Solomon in all of his splendor wasn’t dressed like one of these. 30 If God dresses grass in the field so beautifully, even though it’s alive today and tomorrow it’s thrown into the furnace, won’t God do much more for you, you people of weak faith? 31 Therefore, don’t worry and say, ‘What are we going to eat?’ or ‘What are we going to drink?’ or ‘What are we going to wear?’ 32 Gentiles long for all these things. Your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33 Instead, desire first and foremost God’s kingdom and God’s righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34 Therefore, stop worrying about tomorrow, because tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. (Matthew 6:25-34, Common English Bible)
If you boil all that down, he says don’t worry. I try very hard to do just that and not worry.
Don’t worry and being irresponsible are not the same thing. Jesus says don’t worry. He did not say not to take reasonable action. James even tells us in this afternoon’s lesson the first step of reasonable action when he says, “…go wash your hands you sinners…” (James 4:8b) He says something else too and as important as washing your hands might be today, any day for that matter, there is something else in that verse even more import, “Purify your hearts” and that is something Purell can’t do for you.
When I worked in youth ministry I had five rules. The first four aren’t applicable here. Number five does fit. Its funny, number five fits almost any situation. Here it is, “God gave you a brain, please use it.” It went on but I think that much gives you the spirit of my rule.
Use your brain. Think about what are reasonable actions to take in the face of pandemic virus? You do what you can and leave the rest in God’s hands. What can we do? Well, first and foremost, go wash your hands with soap and if possible warm water. This isn’t going anywhere. Go do it now, I’ll wait… … … … …
… … … … Oh, you’re back. Do it again later. Do it regularly. Don’t touch your face. In the past couple of days I have started learning how much I do touch my face. It is probably even more than I have noticed. So, don’t touch your face. And go wash your hands. Keep hard surfaces around your work and home clean. Go buy some wipes with bleach and clean your spaces up, particularly hard surfaces. And go wash your hands. You can also pray. When you can do nothing else, you can pray. Pray for our leaders who are having to make difficult decisions that impact our lives. Pray for people like airline crews and others who are locked in with people who potentially have the virus. Pray for medical teams. Pray for those who are sick. Then, when you finish praying, go wash your hands.
You should also stay home when you don’t feel well. You say it is allergies and it might well be. Talk with your doctor. He or she can best tell you what the next reasonable steps would be, but please, don’t go and infect your co-workers. Oh, and go wash your hands.
There is much to fear in life. We can let it overwhelm us or we can use the brain God gave us, act in a reasonable and responsible manner, and leave the rest with God because at the end of the day, however this thing may reach resolution, it is going to be God who leads this revolution. Go, wash your hands.
Now, if you will excuse me, I need to go wash my hands. If you didn’t go wash yours any of the nine times I already told you to go wash your hands, you really need to do that. GO WASH YOUR HANDS!!!!! (10)
I pray you have a great evening.
Seeking the genuine,
copyright 2020, J. Keith Broyles, All Rights Reserved.
Permission is given to use this post for non-commercial purposes
GO WASH YOUR HANDS (11)