Three Benefits of Social Distancing
I love people. It is part of the reason that I got into ministry. I love being there for people when they are hurting. I love encouraging people when they are feeling down. I love praying for the sick and praising God as He heals people. Ministry, especially student ministry, is being present in peoples’ lives. Enter social distancing. Now we can’t meet as a body of believers. We can’t meet in groups larger than 10 and fear seems to be ruling our lives. Always the optimist, I began praying and thinking about possible benefits to social distancing. Here is what came to me.
1.Social Distancing forces us to slow down.
As a parent, I understand the daily grind of waking up, getting your kids up, getting them ready for school, loading up the soccer dad car (Honda Pilot is the best…all the amenities of a minivan, but without the social stigma of driving one) dropping them off at their schools, making it into work, going to meetings, planning out future events, picking the kids up from school, trying to meet with students, prioritizing my marriage and kids, trying to connect with God, and finally lying in bed wondering when “cool Rob” turned into “soccer dad”. Wash, rinse, repeat.
However, now that we don’t have as many distractions available to us, it is an awesome opportunity to connect with my wife and kids in a way that “typical” life doesn’t afford to us. We are going on walks at night, playing games, enjoying the outdoors (unless there is a guy on the bike trail sneezing…then it is an all-out sprint in the other direction) and simply reconnecting as a family. I have also used this extra time to reevaluate my relationship with Christ. Where am I lacking, what am I taking for granted, what is God trying to teach me, etc.
Social distancing has brought a whole new meaning to the Bible’s command to Be still and know that I am God…
2. Social distancing is a time of reflection.
I touched on this above, but social distancing gives us more time to sit and reflect on our lives. What is going well in our lives? What aspect of our lives need a little help? What could God be trying to teach me in my life? Am I successfully raising my kids in a way that honors God? Why do I complain about my dad bod and then crave a Whopper with Cheese? The questions go on and on…
Self-reflection is good. God uses His word in hopes that His perfect law will be like a mirror pointing us towards our need of a savior. In the same way that His law leads us to eternal life, self-reflection can lead us to a better, more prosperous life.
3. Social distancing is about sharing the gospel
I can’t tell you how many times I have been asked as a pastor if this is the beginning of the End Times. My answer…if Jesus doesn’t even know when He is going to come back, how could a guy who struggled through school possibly know?
Social distancing is all about keeping a safe distance in order to hopefully stop the transmission of the virus. So how in the world do you share the gospel in a time where we aren’t able to gather? The Bible gives us that answer. If you look at the life of Paul, he was arrested on multiple occasions. He didn’t let this keep him from spreading the good news. He wrote multiple letters to gatherings in hopes to encourage and teach them while under house arrest (social distancing). In fact, we have Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, and Philemon in our Bible as a result of Paul’s writings from prison/house arrest.
So, what does this mean for us? We don’t write letters anymore, but we do reach out via texts and social media posts. So, if Paul is to serve as our example, we should be sending texts of hope and of comfort. We should be posting encouraging content in order to bring some people peace. Paul realized that his time of isolation could be used for proclaiming the gospel. There are hundreds of people that you have contact with every day that do not know the safety and comfort that comes from having a relationship with Christ. Let’s use this time of social distancing to grow God’s kingdom and impact the lives of our family, friends, and neighbors in a positive way!