Conducting Ourselves in a Manner Worthy of the Gospel During a Pandemic
One and a half years after the start of the global Covid-19 pandemic, Vietnam is facing another outbreak and Ho Chi Minh City has imposed an overnight curfew on top of the slew of restrictions, stay-home orders, and lockdown orders. Amidst tightening limits on life and movement, many people are becoming discouraged and depressed. Are we as Christians feeling and responding the same way? Should we?
The apostle Paul knew what it was to have his life and movement restricted and to be literally locked up in chains. Yet, Paul declared that “what has happened to me has actually served to advance the gospel” (Philippians 1:12, NIV). In the midst of imprisonment, Paul witnessed Christ to both his prison guards and to many others, and had inspired other believers to bear the good news to others fearlessly.
Are we, as Paul says, conducting ourselves “in manner worthy of the gospel of Christ” (Phil 1:27) in the midst of our present circumstances?
The constraints, fear, suffering, and even death, that we face are real. This was also the case for Paul. Yet, Paul was able to look beyond his present problems and remember who he served and lived for. Brothers and sisters, the difficulties and dangers we face are real, but so is our Lord. Can we lift our eyes up from our circumstances and begin to look for our Lord in the midst of our situation?
What is God doing in the midst of this pandemic? What is on the heart of our Lord? How might we continue to bear witness and proclaim the gospel with our lives and how we choose to live, act, and respond to our circumstances?
May I encourage us to be faithful and courageous for such a time as this? Know that we are not powerless because we serve Jesus. Our God is our creator, the giver of life, and for whom nothing is impossible (Luke 18:27).
Instead of focusing on what we cannot do, let’s discern with eyes of faith what we can do.
We can pray. We can text and call others to encourage them. We can post messages of hope on social media. We can help others practically. We can treat others (and ourselves) kindly and with gentleness. We can ask God how we can join Him on what is on His heart and His plan and be ready to jump in to declare the good news with both words and works for our neighbours, our employees, our community, and our people.
This is not a time to give up and say “we can’t.” This is the time to realize that with Christ, we can. We can conduct ourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel in the midst of this pandemic.
Rev Dr Bernard Chao
28 July 2021
About the writer: Rev Dr Bernard Chao is Lecturer in Practical Theology at Trinity Theological College, Singapore, and an ordained Methodist Pastor in the Methodist Church in Singapore. This message is written for ICF-HCMC.
If you are looking for an English speaking service to worship please write to the Pastor’s office for the zoom home Sunday Service link to join ICF worship during this lockdown period.