News broadcasting was never as busy as it is today. Media cannot keep up with the number of catastrophic events happening in the world on a daily basis; and, as you know, not everything is newsworthy. Political violence, social commotions, natural disasters, economic unrest, religious
intolerance, global and public health issues, climate changes, and a myriad of other issues related to human behavior have plagued every corner of our society. Can we, as a church, fold our hands and detach ourselves from these events? How do we respond to these overwhelming calamities? Are we seriously considering our mission in the midst of it all? Let’s consider a few elements.
First: The church is not exempt. As a religious body, the church might be a tax-exempt organization because of the nature of the work we do in our communities, but we are not exempt from the troubles and distress that our cities are facing. In fact, as a church, we are so much affected, that it’s imperative to be involved. Our neighbors are dying, families are getting sick, friends’ rights are being violated, coworkers are losing their jobs, and more. You can choose not to be involved, but there goes your relevance in the community. We don’t have too many alternatives when it comes to ministering to our dying world.
Second: The church should never be satisfied. Our satisfaction should not depend on a well-spent day at church on Sabbath or simply on the wonderful fellowship we enjoy when we come together. Everything we do as individuals and as a church should be driven by mission. In the words of Jesus: “These you should have done and still have done the other things also”—Matthew 23:23 (NLV). If you want to know why churches have lost, in large measure,
the commitment of their members, it’s because of a lack of a mission-oriented approach to church life. Don’t forget that mission engenders commitment. Returning to a culture of “service to others” may not be a bad thing to be considered. Today, more than ever, we are the light of the world and the salt of the earth. If carried to its highest potential, either one will change lives.
Third: Be on guard. We are reminded every second that there is a great deal of violence and danger in our world. How do we minister or do service in a complex society? At least we are not alone. Perhaps one of the great promises from our Lord is that He will be with us until the end. We are in the middle of it. We have a clear mission: we are the light of the world; we are the salt of the earth. We have a very reliable arsenal, the “armor of God,” ammunition, the things God gives His children to fight with.
Fourth: Stand up and fight. Take time and read Ephesians chapter 6:10-17. It’s inspiring to know that we have access to all the weapons we can use to defeat the enemy. Our fight is not with people. It is against the leaders and the powers and the spirits of darkness in this world. It is against the demon world that works in the heavens. And remember, “the battle is the Lords.” Moreover, whatever happens to us is for a good reason, if we love the Lord.
So stand up and don’t be moved. Let the church bring hope into the life of the hopeless, joy to sad hearts, the good news of salvation grace, and the promise that Jesus is coming again.
Elias Zabala, Sr., is the Atlantic Union Conference treasurer and trust services director