As a vital prelude to today’s article, the following understanding is critical. To all of those of you who: #1) Have a compromised immune system, or some other, legitimate, health-related issue which causes you to likewise avoid travel and exposure to other places of public contact as well (such as work, the grocery store, and etc.); #2). Have been exposed to or in close contact with someone who has tested positive for the Coronavirus; and/or, #3). Fall into the most “high-risk” category of our society due to either your age or some other contingent; then thank you, God bless you, and we love you, for being loving and willing enough to make whatever personal sacrifices necessary, whenever you choose to stay home for worship instead of coming to the building for worship, and placing yourself – as well as your brethren – in even greater danger. If any of these three criteria describe you, then the following article is definitely not, about you!!!
Zoom does not replace the encouragement and comfort of gathering together.
From what I have recently read, heard, and discussed with others, there is a very real, very strong, and seemingly-growing concern amongst many elders, preachers, and other leaders in the Lord’s church, concerning the actual number of fatalities both connected to, and caused by, the Coronavirus. You see, there is something far more deadly than just simply the amount of physical deaths the Coronavirus has and will continue to cause, as reported by the mainstream media. And that is the potential number of spiritual deaths that it will also cause (or at the very least, deeply contribute to) … the actual number of eternal lives that will be lost, at least in part, due to the COVID19 outbreak as well.
How can the Corona virus cause, or even highly contribute to, the loss of many Christian’s eternal lives you may ask? Easy. Here’s how (and hence the reasoning as to why so many faithful and hard-working leaders in the Lord’s church are so deeply concerned): Physically speaking, the virus seems to pose a far more serious threat to, and have a far more deadly impact on, those who already have deeply compromised immune systems or some other serious physical health issues going on.
The same is true when it comes to the spiritual. Spiritually speaking, those Christians who already suffer from their own self-inflicted series of compromised convictions, lukewarm attendance habits, or lazy, lackadaisical, “take-it-or-leave-it” type attitudes towards the Lord and His church, may very well find in the Coronavirus, the very excuse they have so long been looking for, in order to now completely disconnect and distance themselves from both the work and worship of the Lord’s church. After all they may reason, “Who needs to get up, get ready, and go to worship on a Sunday morning, when it is so much easier to just sit at home, stay on the couch, still in one’s P.J.’s, avoid others, and have all of the services simply piped into my living room via Zoom, Facebook, or YouTube?” The problem, as always, is that the longer one chooses to needlessly practice such illegitimate “spiritual-distancing,” the easier it is to not only continue to do so, but to more easily continue to justify one’s absence as time goes by as well. And the further one goes down that road, the harder it gets, and the more effort it takes, to then turn around and finally return home (Heb. 6:4-6).
Yes, todays’ live streamed lessons can be an absolute “life-saver” to those with legitimate health issues and concerns; to those who have been exposed to the Coronavirus and do not wish to contaminate anyone else; and to those who are in the most high-risk category of our culture. However; to those who’s spiritual health has already suffered and been duly compromised and decimated by years of less than complete and undying devotion and dedication to the Lord Jesus Christ and His church, this same, electronic, live streaming lesson blessing, can easily become the exact, opposite, and deadly reverse: an eternal life-decimating and devouring curse.
Which will it be, for each one of us? That is completely and entirely, up to each, individual, one of us (Dt. 30). “Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time He may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on Him, because He cares for you. Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same kinds of suffering are being experienced by your brotherhood throughout the world. And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to His eternal glory in Christ, will Himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you. To Him be the dominion forever and ever. Amen” (1 Ptr. 5:6-11).