What comes to mind when someone asks, “what is ownership?”
The dictionary defines ownership as the act, state, or right of possessing something. If you own an automobile, you take ownership by ensuring it is clean, both the interior and exterior. Perhaps scheduled maintenance to ensure it is running well and has optimal fuel economy. Having ownership would cause one to operate the vehicle with exceptional care as well. There would be no neglect, or at the very least negligent operation or maintenance would be avoided at almost any cost. We understand this type of ownership. The same mindset can be towards a business, a home, and a church. So how do we take ownership of our Christian lives? How is ownership applied amid COVID-19? Here are a few suggestions:
1) Spiritual Diet.
In Matthew 4:4, we read of Jesus’ temptation in the wilderness. Christ had fasted for forty days, and the tempter came along, advising that since Jesus is the Son of God, that he should turn the stones into bread. Christ gives an excellent reply, “It is written, “‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.” Here is a great life lesson. These words remind us, the believer can put their trust in the Father’s hand to sustain their every need. In short, believers are called to live a life of faith in and dependence on God. Bread is a temporal need; the word of God is eternal. So what is our diet? Are we filling up on the buffet of news, recent events, tabloid magazines and frivolous entertainment? Or do we have a spiritual diet? Saints, living in self-isolation and being advised to stay home should not be wasted on snacking at the crumbs of failing secular foods, but feasting at the table of the King and being in his word, prayer and song.
As one who believes in physical exercise, there is amazement at the kickback believers show regarding the need to take care of their physical bodies. One of the most quoted verses for a rebuttal to exercise is 1 Timothy 4:8, where it says, “for while bodily training is of some value, godliness is of value in every way, as it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come.” Now first, the easy part. It does not say bodily training is of zero value; it shows some value. The main thrust here in Paul’s teaching is if body exercise (physical fitness) is some value, how much more (and more critical) is spiritual discipline. Friends, do not get me wrong, spiritual training is paramount, but during this time of restrictions and staying home, it is still important to exercise the body. Going for a short walk or some aerobic routine is healthy. It keeps the blood flowing and mind alert. Many believers are feeling sluggish, and their Bible reading is sluggish. Perhaps some exercise is what is lacking; for both the body and the spirit during this time.
3) We were created for community.
The author of Hebrews provides an essential application for believers. It is said, “not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near” (Hebrews 10:25). History repeats itself. Context, members of the community convinced themselves that it was best to avoid direct association with Christian assemblies for various historical reasons. There is no difference today. Those who are intentional to separate themselves from the body are taking one dangerous step towards apostasy. After all, we are told in Proverbs 18: 1–2:
Whoever isolates himself seeks his own desire;Proverbs 18: 1-2
he breaks out against all sound judgment.
A fool takes no pleasure in understanding,
but only in expressing his opinion. (ESV)
Now, in a time of social distancing and self-isolation, it is difficult to assemble as a corporate body under one roof. But here is the thing, in our day and age, it is not impossible to at least attempt to get together. Over the last few weeks, as a pastor, I have seen people no longer attend a prayer meeting, life groups, Sunday services and are isolating themselves from the Christian community. Saints, now is not the time to retreat. Whether it be through a phone call, email, Skype, Zoom, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, Linkedin or by a simple handwritten letter, each of us can still have the community we need. Until such a time we can all get together; each individual must take ownership of their relationships and connections.
So, putting this all together in a nice takeout container, let’s not waste this COVID-19 time we have been dealt. Let us be people who ensure we are taking in a healthy spiritual diet. Let us continue to exercise and take care of the temple God has given us, as well as exercise spiritually. Finally, let us be people of community and take the proactive step to reach out to the church community. In doing so, we will grow and learn the necessary steps of what ownership of our relationship with Jesus is all about.
Until next time, stay healthy.