Spiritual Lessons: Ebola and Christianity
The introduction of the deadly virus, Ebola, in our nation has captured the attention of most Americans. It has been the featured story on all newscasts. What American is there who has not heard of it, and how many of us have not had a sense of fear about its impact? It would help us if we could learn some spiritual lessons from all that has happened.
Think about how rapidly this disease has spread. When it first arrived in Dallas, it impacted the life of just one man, but in the days which followed, we learned more about the disease. That single person touched the lives of more than one hundred others even before he entered the hospital. Suppose each of them had become infected and had also spread the disease to one hundred others. Instead of there being one individual, that “second generation” of infected people would number 10,000. If each of those spread the sickness to 100 additional individuals, the third generation would number 1,000,000. It was this kind of geometric progression that created such a stir around this nation.
Apply these numbers to the spread of Christianity, and you can understand why the first-century church spread so rapidly. The church began on Pentecost with just a handful of disciples, but by the end of the century it is estimated that there were over 6,000,000 Christians. This growth continued into the next century. Unlike Ebola, it did not bring death, but it brought life to a dying world.
While Ebola reduplicates itself in just 21 days, teaching the gospel to others can sometimes take longer. The seed of the gospel lands in various kinds of soil, and the soil, not the seed, determines if it will germinate. However, that seed has always been “living and active” (Heb. 4:12). The redeemed have “. . . been born again, not of corruptible seed, but incorruptible, through the word of God which lives and abides forever” (1 Pet. 1:23).
Our commission has never been to go into all the world and baptize every creature. It was not the task of the early church. He said, “Preach the gospel to every creature” (Mark 16:15). It is easy for Christians to become discouraged because they have not led another to the Lord. The issue is not whether they became Christians but whether we taught them! As much as we long to see those we teach being baptized into Christ, we must remember what is involved in the great commission we have received from the Lord. He said, “Go . . . teach.”
The spread of Ebola can teach us. If each of us would win one soul each year and teach them to do the same, what impact would that have? Do the math. In just 34 years every person on earth could be a Christian! He said, “Go…teach!”