Updated: Jun 2, 2020
Each week that I’ve entered our auditorium to livestream services during the COVID-19 pandemic, I’ve noticed our wall banner with our theme for the year - “Abound 2020.” This year, the Christians at Katy have resolved to abound as followers of Jesus, heeding the encouragement of the Apostle Paul: “Therefore my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord…” (1 Cor. 15:58).
I thought about the fact that our theme had barely been introduced before the weeks of quarantine ensued, and that we’ve had (at the very least) two months of our 2020 theme essentially robbed from us. It seems like because of the epidemic, instead of having the opportunity to abound in fellowship and spiritual activities, we’ve instead been stifled, restricted, and suppressed – two months have escaped that we’ll never get back.
But is this really the case? Without a doubt, the current circumstances have negatively affected our normal ways of life. But do we not still have opportunities to abound in a multitude of ways? Certainly! Why? Because we still have God’s grace abounding in our lives (2 Cor. 9:8)! In this time…
We’ve still had opportunity to abound in our worship. Albeit in a different venue, our worship continues to be offered in spirit and truth to God (Jn. 4:24). And yet more, for years we’ve said that worship isn’t confined to the building – and we’re learning that by experience now. Maybe through this experience, we’re learning how to abound more in our worship at home. It just might be that more worship has taken place in our homes in just a few short weeks than has been the case in the sum total of our lives. Certainly, we are eagerly awaiting our return to worship alongside other Christians (the most desired and best outcome) – but when that time comes, may it not signal the end of worship in our homes!
We’ve still had opportunity to abound in our personal study. So often our busy lives take precedence over our need to study God’s word. We (I) regularly make excuses about how there’s not enough hours in the day to get everything done, and so often our diet of scripture is relegated to spoon fed meals by others instead of feasting on the Word on our own. Have we ever had more time on our hands than now? Our schedules have never been freer, our calendars never so empty. Now is the time to abound in personal Bible study. May we be like the Bereans (Acts 17:11). Carpe diem!
We’ve still had opportunity to abound in family responsibilities. An echo of the aforementioned thoughts on free time is apropos. While regular confinement to our homes can certainly add understandable stress at times (especially with little ones!), may it not be far from us to recognize the golden opportunity at our fingertips to abound in the nurturing of our children in the Lord (Eph. 6:4). The opportunity to have significant amounts of time with our children at home is one that few have ever had in our generation, and likely that few will ever have again. May we resolve to abound in our duties and privileges as parents!
We’ve still had opportunity to abound in evangelism. We may never again see a time where so many people are so aware of the fact that life is short, and that death is certain (James 4:14). If ever there was a time to abound in our outreach to the lost, it is now. May we abound in our courage to ask, our willingness to plant and water, our prayerfulness for opportunities, and our effectiveness as teachers.
We’ve still had opportunity to abound in good works. Though physical hugs and shoulders to cry on aren’t readily available at the moment, many are finding ways to abound in good works with “virtual hugs,” doorstep gifts, and benevolent, charitable contributions. Like the first-century church that had “all things in common” (Acts 2:44), the COVID-century church (yes, it feels that long) is prepared to help (and is already in action) fellow brothers and sisters in need – financially, emotionally, and spiritually.
There are endless, countless examples of ways that we’ve had opportunity to abound in these difficult times – opportunity to abound in thanksgiving (2 Cor. 4:15); opportunity to abound in love (Phil. 1:9; 1 Thess. 3:12); and while the world may despair in these unprecedented times, as Christians, we’ve still had the opportunity to abound in hope (Rom. 15:13).