Philippians 4:13 is familiar. “I can do all things through him who strengthens me.” But in the midst of lockdown, shelter-in-place, and quarantine, “all things” takes on new meaning. Not for ourselves, but for others.
Everyone says these are strange times . . . different times. Exactly what kind of people do these times call for? Who do we need to be?
1 Chronicles 12 details a difficult time in the history of Israel. King Saul was dead and a young upstart named David was about to take power. Sure, he was a national hero, but could he make the chariots run on time?
All Israel sent help. The Benjaminites sent bowmen, the Gadites sent warriors with faces of lions. Even that half-tribe of Manasseh sent 18,000 men!
And then there was Issachar
With everyone sending warriors, who would Issachar send? It’s not just a question of who would they send, but who would Israel really need?
And, for that matter, who do we need?
I think there’s much to be learned by the support sent from the tribe of Issachar. In our own days of battling Covid-19, quarantines and uncertainty, we need exactly what they brought to the fight.
“You always have the poor with you, and whenever you want, you can do good for them. But you will not always have me.” Those words are for you and me. Do we know how to live up to them?
Palm Sunday remembers Jesus riding into Jerusalem to the praise of his followers. But the crowd was left wondering, “Who is this?” The crowd around us continues to ask the same question.
This was the first sermon I’ve ever preached to an empty room. I preached my first sermon during our “Shelter in Place” order in the face of the COVID-19 outbreak. We’ve reluctantly withdrawn to our homes and withheld ourselves from our dearest friends.
A couple of weeks ago, a friend of mine found himself in a major airport. He coughed and witnessed a woman cover her mouth and nose and slink away. We live in days when you can be judged by your cough. Too loud, too forceful, too uncovered and you’ll be viewed with suspicion.
There are few verses more well-known or more often cited than Luke 6:37’s, “Judge not, and you will not be judged.” More often than not, it’s invoked in defense. “You have no right to judge me! The Bible says, ‘Judge Not!'” Yet, we make judgments every day. Everything from coughs to character is subject to judgment.