It’s Harvest Time
At the moment I’m writing this, the Novel Coronavirus, which originated in Wuhan, China, has spread to 180 of the world’s 195 countries in less than six months. Each day, detected cases and deaths multiply, There have been 2,460,792 reported cases, with 168,934 deaths associated with COVID-19.
An Amazonian fifteen year old boy from the isolated Yanomami tribe in northern Brazil contracted COVID-19 from illegal miners who entered the Amazon rainforest. He died two weeks ago. The Yanomami people number only 38,000, and to reach them in their remote villages would feel like you were traveling to the ends of the earth.
Yes, COVID-19 has gone from Wuhan to the ends of the earth.
Thankfully, COVID-19 is not the only thing that has reached the remote Yanomami people. Ethnos360, a mission organization based out of Florida, has missionaries serving with the Yanomami people. The Scriptures have been translated for and taught to the Yanomami.
Yes, the gospel has gone from Jerusalem to the Yanomami, to the ends of the earth.
“But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you. And you will be My witnesses, telling people about Me everywhere- in Jerusalem, throughout Judea, in Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”
John 12:24 NLT
As COVID-19 dramatically impacts the globe, could it also serve to amplify the message of the gospel and multiply its impact? Could COVID-19 itself become a “carrier” of the gospel message, opening up doors for its rapid spread?
I believe the answer is a resounding “YES,” depending upon how seriously we take eternal CPR. Eternal CPR? This is the Biblical process Jesus modeled for reaching those who are spiritually lost.
Cultivate genuine relationships.
Plant seeds of spiritual truth.
Reap an eternal harvest.
A simple principle: Crises intensify perceived needs. Needs increase harvest potential.
“Every decade or so, dark clouds will fill the economic skies, and they will briefly rain gold. When downpours of that sort occur, it’s imperative that we rush outdoors carrying wash tubs, not teaspoons. And that we will do.”
As the dark cloud of COVID-19 hangs over the whole globe- with physical, emotional, relational, financial, and spiritual needs weighing heavy upon us- the light of the gospel breaks through the darkness with genuine hope.
Right now, we, who follow Christ, have been entrusted with the privilege of being Ambassadors of Hope.
The “dark clouds” of COVID-19 means it is “briefly raining gold,” spiritually speaking, for those who are equipped and engaged as harvest workers and ambassadors of hope. So, how do we arm ourselves with “wash tubs, not teaspoons?”
How do we cultivate genuine relationships during this COVID-19 crisis?
Love people simply by serving them. “I’m running out. Is there anything I can get for you?”
Love people by listening to them. “How are you handling all of this? It can be a little scary, right?” “Is there anything that I can pray for you about?”
Love people by letting your guard down and sharing your struggles, while at the same time being genuinely joyful and hopeful. “Like so many others, Jennifer’s out of work for two months, which is definitely challenging. But no complaints. We’re enjoying the extra time together as a family. We have so much to be grateful for!”
Love people by living like you believe the good news.
How do we plant seeds of spiritual truth during this COVID-19 crisis?
Share words of encouragement and hope. Maybe text a verse from Scripture that you know will be meaningful. “Hey, I was reading this verse from the Bible in the Book of Psalms, and I thought of you: ‘The LORD gives His people strength. The LORD blesses them with peace.’ (Psalm 29:11) God has given me strength and peace, and I’m praying that He gives you strength and peace today too.”
Share a link to a video testimony like Bethany Hamilton’s White Chair Movie, an online message, or a powerful music video like Nicole C. Mullen’s The God Who Sees. Add a simple note to the link, like, “I thought you’d enjoy this video. Let me know what you think.”
Share the story of your journey to faith, the struggles God has brought you through, and how He has revealed Himself to you and been faithful through everything you’ve faced. “It’s been a hard couple of years… losing my father in May 2018, having a daughter diagnosed with brain cancer in May 2019, and now enduring a global pandemic in May 2020… I honestly have no idea how we have held it together these past two years, other than the grace of God. Our faith in Christ has given us strength….”
How do we reap an eternal harvest during this COVID-19 crisis?
Consistently point people to Jesus. Talk about Jesus specifically and not just God generically. Greg Stier, a dear friend and the founder of Dare 2 Share, our ministry partner with Lead The Cause, has created this 4 minute crash course on sharing your faith.
Clearly communicate the message of the gospel. The gospel message is powerful, but it must be unleashed with clarity and conviction. GodTools is a collection of apps designed for purposeful spiritual engagement with your lost friends, neighbors, and coworkers that you might find even more valuable during this season of social distancing. Sonlife’s Knowing God Personally booklet has been shared with hundreds of thousands of people to simply communicate faith in Christ.
Compassionately invite people to place their faith in Christ. During a time when the foundations people have placed their faith in are fractured and failing, the forgiveness, purpose, and hope found in Christ are something people are searching for.
“Between mid-March and late March, Global Media Outreach saw a 170 percent increase in clicks on search engine ads about finding hope. Clicks on ads about fear increased 57 percent, and about worry 39 percent. The ministry’s 12.4 million gospel presentations in March represented a 16 percent increase over the average month in 2019.”
David Roach, Christianity Today
Cultivate. Plant. Reap. This is how the gospel was sent to the ends of the earth 2000 years ago, This is how we will be gospel-carriers during this COVID-19 crisis, spreading the gospel from person to person, house to house, city to city, and nation to nation. Whether in Yanomami, or wherever you’re social distancing right now, the gospel changes lives. The gospel brings hope. The gospel must be shared. It’s raining gold. Grab your wash tub!
“We are seeing millions of people open to talking about faith in the face of fear.”
Michelle Diedrich, GMO’s seeker journey director