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Three Things You’d Better Be Stockpiling

March 15, 2020
Image result for stockpiling

If you need toilet paper soon, you’re probably out of luck. For a while, anyway. The same with hand sanitizer. Depending on where you live, the same thing with bottled water. Horror of horrors! We may all be forced to drink water from the faucet! How barbaric! How primitive! Whatever shall we do!?

The supply chain can’t keep up with the panic. It will eventually catch up. Then we’ll have more of all of it than we know what to do with. I think some of us already have more of it than we know what to do with. The people who really need these things, people who can’t get to the store easily, the elderly, simple folks like me, we’ll figure out how to make do.

I’ll do my best not to judge you if you’ve stockpiled. Too late. I already did a few days ago when this whole panic thing hit the tipping point.

I’d say it’s funny what panic does to us. It’s not funny, though. It’s sad and dangerous. God gave us the capacity for fear as a gift to perpetuate the human race. But when fear gets blow out of reasoned proportion, it does the opposite of what God designed it to do. It makes us jumpy and anxious and selfish.

Maybe you’ve seen the meme on Facebook.

Image may contain: possible text that says 'Genesis Elijah @GenesisElijah One of the most disappointing things in this whole saga so far is that no one needed to bulk buy, but they did which then led people to panic buy and now some have to go without things they need. We're the virus. We are the weakest link. Fear and greed will always be our downfall'

The Novo Caronavirus is real. It has spread across most of the world and will likely continue to spread, though with the measures in place it’s likely to spread less quickly than it did in its early stages. Paying attention and acting toward its threat intelligently isn’t panic. It’s stewarding your life and the lives of people you love. Perhaps “social distancing” is appropriate. Hand-washing and covering your mouth when you cough and sneeze is, too. And, by the way, if you didn’t get taught that these two things are always appropriate, you missed one of the most fundamental lessons on hygiene. I have preschool grandsons who know to do these things. Grow up and cover your mouth when you cough or sneeze. And if you’re feeling sick, stay at home.

What’s not funny to me is what fear does to us. It makes us stockpile some outrageous things. Usually, the Three Things You’d Better Be Stockpiling aren’t on the shopping list, though. This is partly because the world is full of lemmings, and partly because they’re not available for purchase. The Apostle Paul identified them to his protege, Timothy.

“For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.” (2 Timothy 1:7 NKJV)

There you go. Three spiritual things that God has given us. Three things we’d better be stockpiling for crises. Power. Love. A sound mind. Or as some translations put it, “self-control.”

Pull the dipstick out of your soul and take a reading. How ya doin with these three things in a season of global panic?

Power? Well, is there ever a time when you don’t need a power beyond your own? I think one of the biggest lessons of this season is that control is only an illusion. If you misunderstand power for control, you’re in deep yogurt. It’s not the same. Power is what you have when things are out of your control. Ultimately, the only power any of us has is the power to choose our response to what happens to us. For Christians, this power is a gift to us from God.

Love? I think this is the most important thing we have power to choose. When panic makes me want to hide and make sure nobody gets what I’ve saved up, that’s when I may most need the power to choose love. And if Christians really do want to be a light set on a hill, there will be no better time to choose love than when the world around us is in panic mode.

My favorite definition of love came from my friend and mentor, B.A. Austin. “Love,” he said, “is doing for the other person what they really need.” Not what I want to do for them. Maybe not even what they want me to do for them. Love is doing for the other person what they really need. You’ll want to dwell on that idea. It applies in every human relationship.

A sound mind, or self-discipline? You’ll never be able to exercise power to choose love without a sound mind and discipline. A sound mind and self-discipline make it possible to overwhelm the out-of-control instinct to self-protect and hoard. Panic hijacks the thinking, choosing, deciding part of the brain and spins us up to do selfish and unhealthy things. Things, which after the panic subsides we wish we hadn’t done, or at least had done differently. I don’t know the actual math on this, but I’m thinking about 15/16 of the angst and conflict in my life fits in this pattern. You’re probably more mature than me, but I’m thinking you can look back on the last week or so and see that pattern in your life, too.

So here’s what I’m recommending.

Image result for stop sign

Stop right now and ask God to do in your heart what Paul told Timothy He’s done for every believer. Ask Him to make His Power, Love and a Sound Mind a living reality for you in your feeling and thinking. Ask Him to remind you that He’s in control, and that He has trusted you to make choices about how to express His Power, Love and Soundness of Mind in your life.

Here’s the deal. This Coronavirus crisis will be over. I don’t know when, but I believe it will end. Sooner than later, I hope and pray. Just like the H1N1, Swine Flu, and half-a-dozen other infectious disease crises in our recent history, this, too shall pass. But there will be others. Count on it. Jesus didn’t say, “In the world you will have tribulation,” for no reason. The smartest thing any follower of Jesus can do is stockpile the three things that will always be essential, regardless of the crisis, and be ready for whatever that crisis is, whenever it comes. The last part of what Jesus said in the verse I quoted is also valid: but be of good cheer. I have overcome the world.

And, by the by, if you’ve got kids or grand kids, you ought to model and teach them this, too. It could be equally contagious. Wouldn’t it be great if it were pandemic?

From → Marriage, Parenting

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