What Shall We Say About…
Purpose During the Pandemic
By Tosha Williams
As the coronavirus pandemic sweeps through our world, how are you spending your time? Are you living with purpose today? Though this is unprecedented in our lifetime, it’s certainly not unprecedented in history.
In 1576, a plague swept through Italy arriving to Milan. The town was on high alert against the disease, but still, it breached their city. Hundreds, then thousands, began dying. The rich, the nobility, government officials and even church leaders fled the city and sickness. Left behind were the masses, hurting, hungry, dying.
While those who could flee for their lives did, one man stayed behind to minister to Milan’s people. Facing his own mortality, Carlos Borromeo, the Archbishop of Milan, found purpose in the plague. He compelled the rich to give their resources to purchase food for the starving poor, feeding 60,000 to 70,000 people a day. He gave his own tapestries to have clothes made for the naked poor. He led the town in “social distancing” to help prevent the further spread of disease.
Then, with churches closed, he took the Gospel to the streets, beckoning people to public worship from the safe distance of their doors and windows. He walked the streets uplifting a cross, calling people to pray, repent and cry out to God for the plague to cease. He and his priests sang worship so people could hear them, and the people responded by singing back.
Today’s singing from balconies in Italy harkens back to this moment in their history, when a man of God led them with power, love and sound judgment (2 Timothy 1:7).
History records that 17,000 people died in Milan between 1576-1578, but thousands and thousands more lived because Borromeo chose to live for more than himself. He lived for Jesus.
Borromeo lived his purpose during the plague.
As today’s pandemic sweeps across the world and country, I think about our purpose. We have plenty of things to fill up our time while we quarantine at home right now. We clean and sterilize, then all the things we have “put off” suddenly come to the forefront of our minds. In the midst of our “social distancing,” I am thankful for our projects to keep some sense of normalcy in our day to day. And it’s good for us to teach our kids to steward time wisely.
Yet, I can’t help but think about our bigger purpose. It certainly can’t be that we all come out of this with just more cleaner houses, more organized closets and finished photo albums. For those of us who are Christ-followers, God has something more! He has a greater purpose to which He’s calling us.
And here’s the thing. When we give our lives to Jesus, we don’t have to fear dying or death (Psalm 23:4). We know where our real home is (John 14:3). We have confidence that God is working in and through us (Philippians 2:13). We have authority to minister in His Name (Acts 1:8) and spiritual gifts to serve (1 Peter 4:10). We can approach His throne for the mercy and grace we need (Hebrews 4:16). We can even intercede for the healing of others in His name (1 Corinthians 12:9,28; James 5:14-15).
God gives us help, then we can worship Him by helping others in His Name.
As the body of Christ, this is our chance to rise up and live for more than ourselves. This starts with “Seeking Him” and listening to His voice in our lives. So many believers don’t read their Bibles because they “don’t have time.” Well, friend, today you have the gift of time. “Seek the Lord while He may be found” (Isaiah 55:6). He is good, so good.
As you “Seek Him,” turn around and “Speak Him” into the lives of those entrusted to you. Discipleship starts with a conversation, and you can use quarantine time to talk. Your kids are listening to you. Your grandkids, nieces and nephews, friends and neighbors are watching you – even if from a safe social distance. How you handle this season and what you speak into their lives will be an example burned into their memory for a lifetime. Be intentional!
Then, as you “Speak Him” in your own home and on your own social media, ask God how else He would have you live for more than yourself. None of us have to save the whole world, but all of us can love, serve and help others, somehow, some way. What if even when we can’t physically leave our homes, we can still spread the Gospel outside of our four walls? What if we bless our communities in His Name even when we must be so far from one another? What if we can be the hands and feet of Christ during this pandemic, just like Borromeo was in his day?
I think we should continue our projects, whatever those look like in our own homes. We should protect our children and use our time well as families. But, as we do so, let’s invite Jesus in. Let’s ask Him how He can use us during this time. Let’s seek Him about what our purpose is right now: God what are You saying to me and what do You want me to do about it?
Those who fled Milan in 1576 saved their skin but not their legacy. You can’t find their names on the internet, that’s for sure. However, the godly hero Borromeo is commemorated in history, museums, paintings and even the songs sung in Italy today.
His legacy echoes, because he lived for Jesus. Will our legacies echo for Jesus?
This is our moment in time, our purpose in the pandemic.
© 2020 Tosha L Williams, Family Disciple Me
The current coronavirus pandemic is a strategic time to disciple our kids about FEAR! How God’s Word says we should handle fear in our lives, whatever that fear is for each of us.
As the body of Christ, this season is our chance to rise up and live for more than ourselves. In Jesus’ Name, we can love and help others just like God has loved and helped us.
How do we translate our relationship with the Lord to those He’s entrusted to us? How do we speak Him into their lives? It’s an outgrowth of Seeking Him.
Kids, today we pray. TODAY WE PRAY.
It’s pretty clear what God wants us to do during time of pestilence and disease. He wants us to fall on our faces and cry out to Him, in humility, repentance and faith. So let’s pray today!!!
I have never been pushed so far outside my comfort zone and for so long. Yet, I learned during my personal ‘Crucible of Starvation and Sleep Deprivation’ that the darkest and coldest valleys provide the greatest opportunity to reinvent ourselves, grow, and move closer to God.