Never Let a Good Crisis go to Waste

I have an uncomfortable, maybe even unpopular question to ask.

Is “returning to normal” the wrong thing to hope for and pray toward at this moment?

Sounds crazy, right? But what if we’re so focused on what was behind us, our “normal,” and simultaneously we’re obsessed with what lies ahead, our hopeful return to “normal,” that we miss what is right in front of us.

Unprecedented opportunity.

Unprecedented opportunity to focus.
Unprecedented opportunity to grow.
Unprecedented opportunity to pray.
Unprecedented opportunity to love.
Unprecedented opportunity to give.
Unprecedented opportunity to serve.
Unprecedented opportunity to share.

It was Winston Churchill who first uttered the words, “Never let a good crisis go to waste.”  Churchill’s words have been quoted many times by others. During our current crisis, I’ve heard news anchors attribute the quote to Rahm Emmanuel, who likely read it in Saul Alinsky’s Rules for Radicals. In the midst of World War II, while forming an unlikely alliance with Stalin and Roosevelt in Yalta that would become the foundation for the United Nations, Churchill remarked that they should “never let a good crisis go to waste.”

Great leaders like Winston Churchill see a crippling crisis like World War II as an unprecedented opportunity for remarkable good. The Apostle Peter, discipled by Jesus and empowered by the Holy Spirit, was just such a leader. He was a rock!

The Apostle Peter wrote his first epistle to the people of God who were living in a very dark time. The church was being persecuted by Rome. Hardship was intense. Jerusalem would soon be burned to the ground. I’m sure there were many who just wanted things to “return to normal,” but Peter leaned into the moment.

The hardship they faced would be an opportunity to focus on the eternal. Values would be tested. Priorities would be proved. Would Christ be their all? 

What has our current crisis revealed about our priorities?

“Therefore, with minds that are alert and fully sober, set your hope on the grace to be brought to you when Jesus Christ is revealed at his coming.”

1 Peter 1:13

The hardship they faced would be an opportunity to become like Christ in His character. 

How is God using this current crisis to shape your character as a leader? What character cracks are being revealed under the pressure of the moment?

“Therefore, since Christ suffered in his body, arm yourselves also with the same attitude, because whoever suffers in the body is done with sin.”

1 Peter 4:1 NIV

The hardship they faced would be an opportunity to pray intensely, drawing near to the heart of God and growing in daily dependence upon Him.

I once heard that the average Christian prays only two minutes a day, and the average pastor prays only ten minutes a day. Would you say that your prayer life has been strengthened through this crisis? Do you spend more time planning than you do praying?

“The end of all things is near. Therefore be alert and of sober mind so that you may pray.”

1 Peter 4:7 NIV

The hardship they faced would be an opportunity to love extravagantly. They could extend grace, offer forgiveness, repay evil with kindness.

The fruit of the Spirit is… LOVE. Does the way that you notice, interact with, and respond to others reflect the abundant work of the Spirit in your heart?

“Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.”

1 Peter 4:8 NIV

The hardship they faced would be an opportunity for unparallelled generosity. They could simply see needs, and meet needs, offering shelter and food to those who had been displaced or whose livelihoods had been disrupted.

Are we as leaders mobilizing our resources and our people to meet the needs of our communities? Have we unleashed an army of Good Samaritans to occupy all streets with the love of Christ?

“Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling.”

1 Peter 4:9 NIV

The hardship they faced would be an opportunity to see who they were and what they had as a gift from God to bless others through radical service.

Are the unique talents and abilities within your church body being maximized to meet this moment? How can you better unleash your people to serve, connecting needs with those with the ability to meet them?

“Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms.”

1 Peter 4:10 NIV

The hardship they faced would be an opportunity to share with others about the hope they had in Christ. The worse the crisis gets, the more hope stands out.

Do those you encounter see your hope? Have you shared the reason for your hope?

“But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect.”

1 Peter 3:15 NIV

When will it ever be easier to get into spiritual conversations with our neighbors, co-workers, or friends? In the midst of fear, pain, uncertainty, and hardship, people are more willing to talk about how they are really doing. They are more open to being prayed for. They are more open to hearing about the hope that you have.

When has it ever been easier to ask someone without sounding preachy, “How are you doing? How can I be praying for you?”

When has it ever been easier to text a lost friend a Bible verse to encourage them?

I don’t want a minute of this crisis to pass by without making the most of every opportunity God is putting in front of me. “Never let a good crisis go to waste!”

“Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity.”

Colossians 4:5 NIV