“Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 2:4-5 ESV).
A crisis causes tunnel vision. Our natural response is to narrow our focus to our own needs, and stoke our own fears. But Jesus calls us to a supernatural response—looking toward the needs of others as well as our own. This requires strong faith and discipline. But the payoff is enormous.
As you shop for your own needs, pick up some things for someone else. As you pray for help and healing, include neighbors and church members (and your pastor). Actively serve another. Maybe you can’t go see them in their home or the hospital, but you can leave groceries on the doorstep; send money in the mail; call and offer to buy medicine or food or supplies; or give a word of encouragement to someone who is really struggling with this epidemic.
Focusing on the needs of others (as well as our own) strengthens us. We live out our faith and encourage others to do the same. This kind of simple service also raises our emotional health. But we don’t serve simply to gain these benefits. It’s just that God so created us and our world, that those who serve best gain most.
“Whoever would be great among you must be your servant, and whoever would be first among you must be your slave, even as the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many” (Matthew 20:26-28 ESV).
Scott Nichols pastors Crossroads Church in Carol Stream.