September 21, 2020

Pastoral Nuggets: The Pressure is On – Rise to the Occasion

I’m not smart enough to know what the Coronavirus is.

However, I am smart enough to know what it is not.

It is not male or female, rich or poor, tall or short, fat or skinny, black or white, gay or straight, American or another nationality, Jewish, Muslim, Christian, or atheist, or Republican or Democratic.

Neither is it a respecter of persons.

Therefore, regardless of who we are, now is the time to look beyond those things that divide us and come together in this fight against our common enemy. Now is the time to be a part of the solution and not a part of the problem.

Now is the time for leaders to stand and lead in a positive manner. In the weeks, months, and years to come, there will be plenty of time to vent, argue, point fingers, and assign blame.

Today is not that day! Today we are one America, united in the fight of our lifetime.

As an old friend of mine used to say, “Preacher, the pressure is on, rise to the occasion!” And so it is with us today. The pressure is on. And now is the time for us, all of us, together, to rise to the occasion!

America has always been at its best when things were at their worst. We tend to rise to the occasion.

Sadly, all too often it takes a crisis to bring us back to our roots and to refocus our minds on what is important and what matters.

Recently, I was speaking with my Administrative Assistant, Angela Maddux. She made a profound statement.

She said something to the effect of, “Well, if we church folk haven’t learned anything else from this Coronavirus, we’ve learned that our church programs aren’t nearly as important or necessary as we thought.” She’s right!

Three or four weeks ago, we Christians/church attendees measured success by our programs, and the nickels and noses filling our pews. We placed tremendous importance & value on “the Sunday morning show.” But very suddenly, Mr. Coronavirus changed our focus. Overnight, things went from their best, to their worst.

Enormous pressure was placed upon our church leadership as they were forced to “play Solomon” with their decisions and were forced to lead their flock as they navigated uncharted waters. But the good news today is that the church is rising to the occasion!

And while the church building may be empty, it’s only because God has deployed her members! And it’s amazing to see how the church has started “thinking outside of the box!”

America has always been the most innovative when things were at their worst. Regarding the church, pastors who couldn’t even spell Facebook Live several weeks ago, are now rocking virtual Internet church services.

Pastors and church leaders of my generation, who up until a few weeks ago thought “zoom” meant going really, really fast, are now hosting Zoom Internet conference meetings.

And it’s amazing how some churches are going back to the old ways and are having drive-up outdoor church meetings. Can we say Brush Arbor Meetings? The pressure is on and they are rising to the occasion!

America has always been the most generous and giving when things were at their worst. We see this played-out before our eyes every day. We see it being modeled by healthcare workers, from CNA’s to doctors, working 12-hour plus shifts seven days a week. We see it being modeled by our First Responders, medical, fire, police, and many more.

It’s being modeled by volunteers making masks and many other things. And it’s being modeled by neighbors and strangers alike who are choosing to be kind and unselfish in their actions toward each other. The pressure is on and they are rising to the occasion!

And finally, America has always been the most resilient when things are at their worst! As the Phoenix rises from the ashes, so shall we rise from this Coronavirus.

I close with something I said earlier, “In the weeks, months, and years to come, there will be plenty of time to vent, argue, point fingers, and assign blame.

Today is not that day! Today we are one America, united in the fight of our lifetime … and now is the time for us, all of us, together, to rise to the occasion!”

Pray as you have never prayed before!

Brother Aaron

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