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By Rachael Branson

If you’ve ever been in a sales job, you know about incentive trips. Before I started working at Abundant Life and helping to lead Paradigm, our Young Adults ministry, I worked in sales for a few years. I truly enjoyed my time doing what I did especially whenever the company would pay for me to go on a trip if  I hit a sales goal. A few years back, that’s exactly what happened – I sold enough to go on an all-inclusive trip to a resort in Mexico. It was an amazing vacation! They had everything that you would want on this resort, and if you’ve ever been at one of these resorts there’s really one rule: “Stay on the resort”. My boss, however, decided we should venture out and try deep-sea fishing.

So we show up to this deep-sea fishing place and to put this gently… it wasn’t like our resort.  There had been no precautions taken to keep from scaring Americans. But, we pressed on and got on this boat. One thing I should mention, this day was one of the windiest days that I can remember in my life. At the time I had never been on a boat in the ocean, so I had no clue the implications of this wind. I got on board and tried to get settled. 

As soon as we broke the reef, the boat started rocking like crazy. My first thought was, “This is normal,” but it kept rocking and rocking more. It got so bad that everyone on the boat, with the exception of three people, was throwing up. I looked around and saw two of my co-workers, the one who had grown up on the ocean had been throwing up the entire boat ride. Any hope I had that this was gonna turn out okay was gone after seeing this experienced sailor throwing up. The only other guy I could see was my other buddy who was also throwing up, but something was different with him. He was kind of smiling about the situation while vomiting.  That was clearly one of the oddest things  I’d ever seen. He wasn’t just smiling –  he  also was telling me “We’re are gonna be okay.” 

This is a picture of what we are going through right now as a world. No one is really exactly certain of what is going to happen at the end of COVID-19. But, if you are a Christian, you can be certain of one thing. Christ is still on His throne.

I remember asking my encouraging buddy what caused him to have such a reaction. He said, “Bro, I was talking to the captain of the ship and he told me that he has done 80,000 hours on the ocean. I knew we were good because he has handled way more crazy storms.” 

If you’re reading this article and you know Christ, you know we have a skipper that is far greater than the captain of that old beat-up fishing boat. His name is Jesus and He is in control of this situation. 

As I reflect on my time on that boat, I think about how I was good, but I wasn’t good for anyone else at that moment. I knew we were going to be okay but I was verbalizing encouragement like my smiling, throwing up buddy. Today, if we are doing well with the current situation all while ignoring the world around us, we are missing what it means to follow Christ.

I think a lot of ministries have called people to “like, share, & subscribe” which are great things and we should be doing those things to reach people. However, I don’t think this is what Jesus meant when He said in Luke 9:23 “to take up your cross and follow me.” He called us to be people who live on mission. What that looks like today is to be people who lead well.

It’s important that you know that you are leading someone. Everyone is leading right now. And you are either leading people to hope or leading people to fear.  We should choose to lead people to hope because here’s the reality, if you know Christ,  you know the captain of the ship and He has never failed and never will. But, we have people in our lives who do not know the captain of the ship. They don’t know Christ and they are scared because these waves are getting bigger and they are consistent. Reach out to those people, start a bible study on Zoom or just call them and ask how they are doing. 

It’s important that you know that you are leading someone. Everyone is leading right now. And you are either leading people to hope or leading people to fear.

I want to finish with a passage that is central to our ministry during this time. Mark 4:26 “He also said, this is what the kingdom of God is like. A man scatters seed on the ground. Night and day, whether he sleeps or gets up, the seed sprouts and grows, though he does not know how.” Jesus is saying not to worry about what happens after you share the hope you’ve found in Him. Jesus tells us that He will take care of that… just throw the seed out there. 

When we reflect on the quarantine, as a church, we should be able to say that we were still on mission even when the method changed. As a church, we want to be able to say we stayed with our mission.  We scattered seeds of hope in Jesus even in the midst of the storm.

When we reflect on the quarantine, as a church, we should be able to say that we were still on mission even when the method changed.

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