We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy in accordance with your faith; if it is serving, then serve; if it is teaching, then teach; if it is to encourage, then give encouragement; if it is giving, then give generously; if it is to lead, do it diligently; if it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully.
Romans 12:6-8 (NIV)
Read: Romans 12:3-21
Consider: The news today is for even more social distancing as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. Looking at the worldwide statistics can be quite depressing.
Some people will find it difficult when they cannot meet with their fellow believers in worship. In the UK, as in so many places around the world, churches have decided not to meet in their church buildings. Instead many congregations will be able to login to an online service. For some people this can be difficult, especially if they rely on the church for their social contact. For others they confuse the physical building (church) with the body of Christ (the Church). It is important to recognise that the Christian church is not made up of individual buildings, but individual people (see 1 Corinthians 12:12-31).
Does the fact that we are not meeting together physically prevent us from exercising the gifts God has given us for the upbuilding of the church? Of course not. What we need to do is to have a renewed sense of what the body of Christ is and the part we have to play in its upbuilding. Of course, many of the gifts are to be used when face-to-face, but others like encouragement can be exercised remotely.
It will be important for believers to keep in regular contact when not meeting together physically. As isolation can have a negative effect on a person’s mood, so we need to be watchful for those in our congregations who might need extra support or encouragement at this time. For churches that have a strong network of small groups this can happen within these groups. But what do you do for those who aren’t in a small group? Or what about those who don’t have access to the technology for online participation? Some of these people will be in what are called the ‘most vulnerable’ grouping in society. What is important is that whatever solutions we come up with we do not inadvertently prevent certain individuals or groups from participating.
Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing (1 Thessalonians 5:11).
Pray: Father, may we be encouragers, watching out for those who feel isolated from church during this time. Amen