It seems that for most of us, this year has been a year of ongoing crisis. Understandably so since we have moved from one figurative fire alarm to another at break-neck speed. The thing about a crisis, whether real or imagined, is that it has a way of seizing the heart and mind of a person… even to the point of robbing them the ability to perceive other things in life.
A crisis, no matter how legitimate or merely fancied it may be, can rob a person of the ability to address other matters, issues, and concerns in life and often paralyzes that person when things ignored for the sake of a crisis become themselves crises. “I’ll get to it later,” we say to ourselves as we continue to focus all our attention and energy on that one thing we can’t stop thinking about while, in the background of our lives, problems begin to smolder until they themselves burst into flames.
Of course, a true crisis must be addressed. If your head is on fire, you definitely have a crisis and need to put the fire out. Social evils must similarly be addressed and answered with prayerful discernment. Things that are breaking our society, communities, homes, families, and hearts should and must be engaged and dealt with.
But we mustn’t lose sight of those other important things that aren’t necessarily screaming at us to pay attention to them. We must learn the art of managing well our time, but that won’t happen unless we learn to manage well our hearts and minds. What occupies my heart as being a priority automatically has dominance in directing my schedule and willingness to abort my plans when interrupted by things happening around me.
As a result of this, we often fail to address the urgent – even critical – need we have for addressing our spiritual reality. The Bible is clear on this point, without Jesus, we are doomed to perish in our sin.
“He said to them, ‘You are from below; I am from above. You are of this world; I am not of this world. I told you that you would die in your sins, for unless you believe that I am He you will die in your sins.’ So they said to Him, ‘Who are You?’ Jesus said to them, ‘Just what I have been telling you from the beginning. I have much to say about you and much to judge, but He Who sent Me is true, and I declare to the world what I have heard from Him” (John 8:23-26 ESV).
Christians are representatives of Jesus Christ on earth. We do well when we respond well to crises that others are experiencing for in doing so, we help people to understand the transitory nature of this life: we will all die some day and the most important use of this life is preparation for what comes after: God’s judgment.
The Bible in 2 Corinthians 5:20 refers to us as “ambassadors for Christ, God making His appeal through us”. We are men and women who are sent by God into the craziness of the world to call people to repent and to turn to God. The message we are sent with is not merely one of sympathy, demonstrating the compassion of God for the pain we feel or the fear we experience, but one of urgency, appealing to others to be reconciled to God through Jesus Christ.
Make no mistake, the word “appeal” used here in the Bible, is referring to a passionate and almost desperate call for people to turn away from sin and to turn to God. Time is precious and we must not lose sight in the face of all the crises thrown our way, that what is still most important, what is still most urgent, what is still most critical is our ultimate destiny.
There is hope in spite of all the despair that people are feeling today. But that hope is not for this life only. And it is not found in any person, movement, or cause on this earth. It is found only in Jesus Christ. Let us pause in the irksome and worrisome pace we’ve been caught up in and consider whether or not we are taking care of the most important thing.
“Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ has been born of God, and everyone who loves the Father loves whoever has been born of Him. By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and obey His commandments. For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments. And His commandments are not burdensome. For everyone who has been born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith. Who is it that overcomes the world except the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God” (1 John 5:1-5 ESV).
(Thom Mollohan and his family have ministered in southern Ohio the past 24 ½ years, is the author of Led by Grace, The Fairy Tale Parables, Crimson Harvest, and A Heart at Home with God. He blogs at “unfurledsails.wordpress.com.” Pastor Thom leads Pathway Community Church and may be reached for comments or questions by email at [email protected] Viewpoints expressed are the work of the author.)