COVID-19 has overwhelmed people who live in homes that aren’t safe or have no homes to go to. It’s also been devastating for hourly wage earners, small businesses, people with mental health struggles, and those in highly exposed industries like leisure and hospitality.
With unemployment, family violence, depression, and suicides soaring around the world, the need to care for others is greater than ever before. What are we doing to help? The founder of Methodism, John Wesley said, “There is no such thing as a solitary Christian.”
Providing for others.
This could be our finest hour – but only if we’re prepared to ease our neighbours’ burdens. Who are you looking after? “Anyone who loves God must also love their brother and sister” 1 John 4:21. Will the way we’ve met the needs of others be part of our testimony? Whatever happens in the coming months, we’re called to be witnesses to God’s provision by providing for those who are suffering during COVID-19.
Social restrictions make it difficult for us to care for others – but not impossible. As we provide for our children’s needs, will they see us providing for others? Our conduct should communicate the love of Jesus for all people. Being home alone together is a wonderful opportunity to teach our children to love our neighbours as we love our family!
Small acts of kindness.
Through small acts of kindness, we can let our neighbours know that they’re apart but not alone. Where there’s a will, there’s always a way. While maintaining social distancing and health protocols here are some suggestions for how, along with our children, we can care for others:
- Prepare and drop off a meal
- Make and send homemade encouragement cards
- Paint a big sign that says, “We’re thinking about you!” or “We love you!” Then do a drive-by while holding up the sign against the car window
- Phone, Skype, Zoom, WhatsApp, or text to ask the neighbours how they are doing
- Pray for and with your neighbours
- Help out with some yard work or gardening
- Organize a virtual birthday, anniversary party, or online singalong
- Pick up supplies and deliver groceries
- Take the neighbour’s dog for a walk
- Prepare a bouquet of flowers and leave them on the neighbour’s porch
- Take some food basics to the local food bank
People are struggling financially due to the loss of jobs or battling emotionally due to social isolation and dislocation. We can confine ourselves to our digital echo chambers, or do something about it. “Let’s not merely say that we love each other; let us show the truth by our actions” 1 John 3:18 (NLT). As God directs, some of us have the means to send a cheque or electronic transfer to those who are suffering financially. If you’re a landlord, you could reduce or waive the rent. Are you a social worker, counsellor, spiritual mentor, psychotherapist, or some other mental health professional? You could offer your services at a lower rate or pro-bona. While our children usually can’t be directly involved in helping financially or emotionally, our open-handedness should be modelled, so that in years to come our children will, in turn, be generous.
Using our gifts.
Christians, regardless of age, have the gifts of the Spirit to do what Jesus calls us to do and be. There are real and creative ways to help those who are suffering during the pandemic. If your children sing or act, they could produce a video that’s shared with friends and family. If they have a favourite book, they can record themselves reading it, and forward it to others. And if they have the gift of faith, they can pray for people’s healing and restoration.
Society is watching.
What we say and do during COVID-19 will be how our neighbours interpret Christianity. Wouldn’t it be beautiful if, after COVID-19, Christians were known for extending assistance to everyone in need, regardless of who they are?
In A Tale of Two Cities, the author Charles Dickens said, “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.” If our children’s lasting memory of COVID-19 is the grace, generosity, kindness, and self-denial of their parents, that would be huge! So let’s care for others. Then maybe, for the fame of Christ’s name, it will be said of Christians that COVID-19 was the best of times!
© Scripture Union, 2020