Friday, April 3, 2020

Doing the Next Right Thing

I watched the movie “Frozen 2” over the weekend because I ran out of things to do as everything has been closed and canceled. The advice that came up frequently in this Disney film were the words, “When you don’t know what to do, do the next right thing.” 

I like this quote because it is practical and doable. Life is full of times when we don’t know what to do as we face an overwhelming problem or fear-inducing situation. Doing the “right” thing speaks of moral integrity during hardships and suffering. The “next” thing speaks of taking it slow, one step at a time, and seeing the good in every small effort. That step often leads to the knowledge of what to do next. 

This is good advice for us, as we respond to the coronavirus pandemic. We may not know what to do to solve this challenge globally, but we can do the “next right thing” locally.

The “next right thing” in practical terms includes the following:
  • Wash your hands thoroughly.
  • Sanitize high volume surfaces.
  • Observe protocols about social distancing.
  • Keep informed about state and governmental directives.
  • Get tested if you are feeling sick, and observe a quarantine if you believe you have been exposed to the virus.
The “next right thing” pastorally brings a new window of opportunity like never before. I have been observing our churches responding to this pandemic in many creative and effective ways. It is an exciting time for the church! 

Some are reaching online unchurched people that have not been physically attending church services. People are seeking God at this time. Here are some things that are happening around our connection: 
  • Worship services webcast using livestreaming video, or Zoom videoconferencing or recorded and posted on Facebook, church websites and YouTube.
  • Print versions of sermons e-mailed or posted on church websites.
  • Daily morning devotions livestreamed.
  • Churches providing sign language interpreters in the screen box during live-streamed services, so that Deaf people, who use American Sign Language can see the sermon/devotions.
  • Starting or continuing Bible Studies, prayer meetings and congregational care groups on conference calls and videoconference calls. I even observed one church using YouTube to offer sewing directions for making protective face masks.
  • Drive-thru food pick-ups and drop offs at food banks for distribution.
  • Drive-thru donations and Communion elements.
  • Pastoral Care Window Visits, where a visiting team comes to the home of a person who has been sick and holds signs outside read “Praying for you.”
In these times of uncertainty many are concerned about the potential drop in funding for church support and ministry. Some churches are handling this concern through electronic giving, and some are mailing stamped envelopes to church members to encourage ongoing giving. 

We should be about the business of giving sacrificially and not hoarding. It seems counter-intuitive but giving when you feel vulnerable is the basis of Christian stewardship. 

Generosity proclaims your faith in God like nothing else. Jesus said, “Give and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap.  For with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you.” (Luke 6:38)

Give in faith at this time, and trust that God will supply all of your needs. One of our greatest tools for ministry is our concern for the poor during times of need.

Do “the next right thing” each day, and may God continue to direct your paths and use you to bless many people.

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