Admittedly, the title of today’s post is tongue in cheek, because we always have opportunities to obey. There are certain days, though, when we feel that opportunity more acutely. For example, you might read Ephesians 6:4: “Fathers, don’t stir up anger in your children, but bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.” As a dad, you generally have the opportunity to obey that command. But you feel that opportunity more acutely on the day when your kids are at each other’s throats and you are tempted toward overreaction and anger.
In a similar way, these are days when there are commands that seem, at least for me, to be rising to the surface. Oh, there have always been opportunities to obey these commands, but we feel them more right now, maybe more than ever before.
Who can know the mind of the Lord? Not one of us. So not one of us should begin to presume on the “why” of something like a global pandemic. We can, though, look at the situation before us and try to exercise wisdom with what we find there. And wisdom will tell us that in the midst of these days, there are things that we should have always been doing out of love and obedience to God, and yet perhaps have had the luxury of not thinking about.
Here, then, are a few commands that we have the unique opportunity to obey during these days:
1. “Cast all your cares on him, because he cares about you” (1 Peter 5:7).
These are days when we all have very real cares, and very real anxiety. Anxiety about health, anxiety about the economy, anxiety about the future. Most of us have felt these cares before, but they have been latent anxiety, existing in the “worst case” scenarios in the backs of our minds. But no more. Now they have become more real than ever before. And that gives us an opportunity for obedience, for here we have a command about what to do with these cares.
Over and over, we are to cast them upon the Lord. And the wonderful news about this command is that we aren’t casting them upon a deaf ear, but rather one Who cares for us. Take up the chance, Christian, to cast your cares upon the Lord like never before.
2. “Share with the saints in their needs; pursue hospitality” (Rom. 12:13).
Similarly, we have known that people around us have needs. But most of us have had the ability to provide a certain amount of emotional insulation around those needs. These people, for many of us, were just vague groups of those who had less than we did, and while we did some occasional good act in helping them, the need has come home to roost. Our friends, our families, our colleagues – the people with needs are no longer nameless and faceless. They are here. In fact, it’s very possible that the “they” have become “we.”
Here, again, is a great opportunity for obedience to this simple command to share with the saints who are in need. It’s a real chance for us to take care of each other in real ways.
3. “These words that I am giving you today are to be in your heart. Repeat them to your children” (Deut. 6:6).
We have not met together in churches for some time. And for those of us with children living at home, it means more than likely that our children have not had for several weeks the good, Bible-teaching influence of an in person Sunday school class or youth group. We miss these gatherings. We long for them. And we should, for they are a good thing.
At the same time, though, here is a chance for regular moms and dads to choose a more active role in their children’s discipleship. We can take up the Bible ourselves, in our homes, and read and pray together.
Friends, while not one of us should presume upon how God will bring this health and economic crisis to good, we can look and see that it is providing us an opportunity to be obedient in these and other ways. We have had the luxury of keeping obedience to commands like these in general terms, but no more. Now is the time.