Generations become defined by the events that happen within their years. World War 2 defined the 1940’s and gave us the greatest generation. Vietnam and the Beatles defined the 1960’s and 70’s and gave the world the baby boomer generation. In the 2000’s, events like 9/11 and the financial crisis defined how millennials invest and interact with the world. Every generation has its defining moment and I believe that right now we are in another defining moment that doesn’t just touch a single generation, but touches every generation separately and uniquely. Whether you are a parent wanting to provide for your children or an older American trying to protect your health, the COVID-19 pandemic has changed the way we live, work, and play. As Christians, moments like this should bring excitement, not in the pain and suffering of others, but in the fact that we have the Light this dark world needs. In Acts 2, the ancient world was experiencing a defining moment as well: Jesus had been crucified by the Romans and then resurrected from the dead and a new religious movement called, “The Way” was experiencing exponential growth. A man by the name of Saul, who was a leader in the ruling religious party was threatening, arresting, beating, and even killing converts of this new movement. All eyes in Israel were on Rome, the Jewish leadership, and this new movement that was upending the current religious structure. How did those early Christians respond to their moment in time? What was their perspective in the face of fear and death? Their response gives us a great example as a generation and people who are living in their own defining moment.
1. We must step forward
“Then Peter stepped forward with the eleven other apostles and shouted to the crowd…” Acts 2:14 NLT
Stepping forward in faith doesn’t mean we are careless with our actions and run out into the middle of the panic, but it means when GOD gives you an opportunity to share your faith, you seize that moment. Maybe it’s sharing scriptures of peace on your social media feed or offering to pray with a neighbor or friend who is really scared. GOD will give us all unique opportunities to step forward within our circle of family and friends in the community where we live and it’s in these moments where His light gets to shine through our actions.
2. Be prepared to share your faith
Peter’s words pierced their hearts, and they said to him and to the other apostles, “Brothers, what should we do?” Peter replied, “Each of you must repent of your sins and turn to God, and be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. Then you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. This promise is to you, to your children, and to those far away—all who have been called by the Lord our God.” Acts 2:37-39 NLT
The one good thing that comes from any crisis is that people look for something stable in the midst of chaos. Oftentimes, the church is the place where most people run. Even with the doors of our physical churches being closed, we have an opportunity as believers to share the gospel of Jesus Christ with family, friends, and even strangers at the grocery store. Hope is what this world is looking for and that hope is found in Jesus Christ.
3. Be open to generosity
All the believers devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching, and to fellowship, and to sharing in meals (including the Lord’s Supper), and to prayer. A deep sense of awe came over them all, and the apostles performed many miraculous signs and wonders. And all the believers met together in one place and shared everything they had. They sold their property and possessions and shared the money with those in need. They worshiped together at the Temple each day, met in homes for the Lord’s Supper, and shared their meals with great joy and generosity—all the while praising God and enjoying the goodwill of all the people. And each day the Lord added to their fellowship those who were being saved. Acts 2:42-47
How much toilet paper do you have? Did you notice the empty produce shelves at your local grocery store? This is not a time to hoard up groceries and paper products…no this is our moment to be a blessing to our neighbors and those closest to us. How can we do this when social distancing is the rule? Don’t take more than you need at the grocery store. If you have more than enough, post on Facebook and ask if anyone needs more. We can still share even among a world that is hoarding in panic. In Philippians 4:19, Paul assures us that, “GOD who takes care of me [Paul] will supply all your needs from His glorious riches, which have been given to us in Christ Jesus.”
Generations are defined by the moments that intersect the years they find themselves on Earth. Who would have thought during our lifetime we would have seen a pandemic? I believe that you were born to be here for this very moment in time. Living on the inside of you is the Light that shines brighter than any darkness. We have the peace that passes all understanding because the Prince of Peace lives in our hearts. I am reminded of the lyrics from one of my favorite Sunday school songs, “This little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine. This little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine. Let it shine, let it shine, let it shine.” Jesus is the light this dark and panicked world needs. We are the hands and feet of Jesus. THIS IS OUR MOMENT.