As the body of Christ, believers are called to encourage, exhort, serve, build up, and love one another.
Hebrews 3:13 says “But exhort one another every day, as long as it is called “today,” that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin.” In John 15:12 Jesus teaches, “This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you.” Similarly, Paul explains in Galatians 5:13, “For you were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another.” And again in 1 Thessalonians 5:11, “Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing.”
Believers are called to demonstrate God’s love in their community.
However, because of COVID-19, Americans are being encouraged to “avoid gatherings over ten people”, “maintain social distance”, and in some states, “shelter at home”, leaving the house only to perform essential tasks like grocery shopping. We are being called to stay at home so that we may protect those around us. Finding ourselves in this situation, how can believers still maintain community and share the love of Christ in the midst of social distancing?
Because of technology, our modern society is more accessible than ever. Aside from in-person interactions, here are five examples of ways that people can stay connected:
- Video chat/Facetime
- Texting/Phone call
- Social media/Apps
- National Bible Bee Social Community*
*The NBB Social Community is a safe, private online platform where all current National Bible Bee participants are welcomed and encouraged to interact.
So, if a person doesn’t answer their phone, you can text, facetime, email, direct message, snap, tweet, tag, and generally reach out in a host of different ways. In other words, even though we cannot physically meet during the COVID-19 quarantine, we do not have to isolate ourselves from our friends and family.
Before COVID-19, daily commitments provided an easy excuse for not reaching out to others. Whether we were tied down to work, school, Bible study, youth group, sports, meetings, or whatever it might have been, our responsibilities kept us busy, busy, busy. But now, many if not all those commitments have been put on hold.
Let’s use this time to do the things we normally could not do because of our other commitments. Let’s reach out to others online. Check in with people and ask how they’re doing. Offer encouraging words. For example, many churches have begun posting short, encouraging videos on their social media pages, and others have been sending out daily devotional emails.
In addition, Bible apps such as YouVersion have interactive Bible reading and Bible study plans to help facilitate group learning and discussion. Another example would be to host a weekly video call with friends and look at a passage of the Bible together, or share what everyone has been learning on their own. When we choose to engage in our virtual community, we not only bless others, but we experience blessing too. Relationship and community is a two way street.
However, we cannot pour from an empty cup. During this season of uncertainty, take time to grow your own relationship with Christ. Soak up his word, pray, and seek his face. In Isaiah 55:6, Isaiah proclaims, “Seek the LORD while he may be found; call upon him while he is near”. God promises in Jeremiah 29:13 that those who seek him will find him, when they seek him with their whole heart. Then, from a full heart that has been refreshed in the Lord, we will be well equipped to invest in our community, to share the love of Christ to those around us.
Let social distancing be the interruption that drives us closer to Jesus and closer to one another.
Written by National Bible Bee Alumna: Tabby Boulware