Wow… things sure change quickly, don’t they? At FellowshipOne, we know your lives have been turned upside down both personally and professionally. Your church is having to quickly come up with new ways to stay engaged with your congregation. Sometimes your ideas work and other times they don’t. As a result, it is easy to quickly become discouraged.
At FellowshipOne, we’ve also had to make major adjustments to the way we work. Our entire team is working from home. We’re learning new ways to stay engaged and in touch with each other while at the same time keeping a positive outlook.
I shared the following encouragement with the FellowshipOne team this week. It comes from Jeremiah 29:4-11. I hope you also find this encouraging.
As we look at where we are today, we can look at this as being both the best and worst of times. In the passage noted above, Jeremiah is delivering a message to the Jewish people living as captives in Babylon. In some ways, this kind of mirrors us, today, living under a “Shelter in Place” order to reduce the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. We have been forcibly removed from life as we know it just like the Jewish people referenced in the passage were forcibly removed from their lives as they knew them. However, in this passage God, through Jeremiah, encourages the Jewish people to remain strong and encouraged.
So – how do we stay encouraged?
- Settle in and make life beautiful & productive (v5) – God encourages the people to not fight or resist the time, but rather make it beautiful and productive by living life in the best way they can. You can’t do much about the situation we’re in, so settle in and enjoy it. Only you can control what you do with this time. Only you can control your outlook. Only you can control your attitude.
- Be Productive (v6) – Ok – yes. I get it. God is encouraging the people to be fruitful and expand their families. But we can also see that God wants us to continue on with life. Do not decrease. Rather grow & multiply! Don’t put your life on hold, instead chase your dreams. Bloom where you are planted. Plants grow best in manure. So, in the midst of our “manure”, let’s take an opportunity to grow, read, learn, try new things, develop new skills, and make memories. Maybe you can even chase some dreams. You never know where those dreams may take you—maybe to new adventures, businesses, & hobbies.
- Be a Blessing (v7) – Look at those around you. Who can you bless? How are you able to serve? Can you bless the front-line workers? Can you pray for others? Can you send “thinking of you” cards? Seek out opportunities to bless. The quickest way to step out of your misery is step into someone else’s and be a blessing to them—serving their needs and interests.
- Fill yourself with truth (v8-9) – One person says we’re almost out of the woods; another says the worst is yet to come. Which data nerds are you to believe? It actually doesn’t matter. Tune into the One who provides all things—the One who provides for even the smallest birds on a daily basis, the One who knows the number of hairs on your head, and the One who is in all of the details and in full control—God.
Jeremiah 29:10-11 says “For thus says the Lord: When seventy years are complete for Babylon, I will visit you, and I will fulfill to you my promise and bring you back to this place. For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.”
There is no better encouragement than to know God has our best in mind at all times. Even in the hard times like now, He is planning the best for us so that when get to the other side of this, we are better for it. We are renewed and we can move on in life, looking back on this time as one that wasn’t depressing and morbid, but one where we see good memories, positive growth, and renewed spirits.
Be encouraged that YOU can use this time to your benefit. You just have to choose to do so.
General Manager | FellowshipOne