24 March 2020

Don’t Waste Your Quarantine

Dear Church Family,

In Ephesians 5, Paul talks about how we are to live in this world as “children of the light” (5:8), or in the context of Sunday morning, living as citizens of the new Jerusalem whilst we are exiled in Babylon. In Ephesians 5:15-17 Paul tells us this:  

“Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lords will is.”

Every situation we are in contains opportunity. It may not feel like it, and we can’t dismiss the difficulties of our present situation, but we are in an opportunity that God has given us. How then shall we live as wise people in these days of quarantine? Here are some thoughts on how do to make the most of this opportunity.

What we were made for

When God made Adam and Eve, he made them to tend and keep the garden that he placed Adam and Eve in. In Genesis 2:15 we read: “The Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it.” We were made to work, to produce, not to just consume. 

I think this is a helpful way of thinking about how we use our time in quarantine - spend a decent amount of time in activities that are productive, creative and caring. 

Opportunities to make the most of

So often we are so busy that we say we haven’t got the time to do all sorts of things that are on the productive side outside of our normal work. We don’t have that excuse for a while! Take some time to do some thing that you excuse yourself from doing because you are too busy:

  • Spend more time in Bible reading and prayer - perhaps get that New Years Bible reading plan back on track. There are lots of things we can pray for, the church we will be sending out prayer updates.
  • Keep community going - why not try and ring a church member each day or two? Try and ring someone you don’t know and ask them how they are doing and how you can pray. One tip for this: Don’t be afraid to pray over the phone; it may feel a bit weird at first but just do it and you’ll be both blessed and a blessing.
  • Be a witness - in a world where there is confusion and selfish stock-piling there will be opportunities to share our faith in word (by sharing the hope and assurance we have in Jesus) and in deed (by being generous and giving to those we see in need). You could even invite someone to watch the live stream on Sunday.
  • If you are married and/or have children spend some quality time together. Eat together, read scripture and pray together, have conversations.
  • Read a book that engages your heart and sets your mind on things above.
  • Sing! Although for some of us this may be more of a “joyful noise” rather than a melodious song, the songs of the faith help us remember the truth of our faith.
  • Take the time to do some activities that stimulate your mind and body - things like exercise (according to government guidelines), hobbies and housework/DIY.

Opportunities to avoid

There is nothing wrong with activities that are consumeristic such as watching movies, listening to music, reading, social media, gaming and so on. But all these are gifts from God that have dangers if not moderated. Here are some things that, whilst tempting, we should avoid because they are not “making the most of the opportunity”:

  • Checking the news too much - this can cause anxiety and angerChecking the news too much - this can cause anxiety and anger (two of the emotions that we have considered recently at Table Talk). Set a time to check the news twice a day for a short time (15mins or so) rather than all day. You will find out all you need to know in that time.
  • Similarly, avoid excessive time on screens/social media. It is great to keep in touch with each other through social media but don’t go overboard. Again limit yourself to a couple of times a day. 
  • Beware of the temptations that come with enforced isolation with the internet - pornography especially is a temptation for many. Let us make sure we have accountability on our devises and a commitment to purity. 

There is some really good content that you can consume online. I would recommend articles on the gospel coalition website: https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/

Brothers and sisters, when all this is over, let us be able to look back and say that our quarantine, whilst difficult and horrible at times, was not wasted.

With love and prayers,
Steve