“The Coronavirus Blues”
April 19, 2020
1 Kings 19:1-18
Last week I woke up one night about 3:o’clock in the morning feeling overwhelmed. I suppose I felt a little like Elijah did. I have had to do it all since this Coronavirus plague hit us. Mow the lawn, clean the church, do the music, preach the sermon and anything else that is necessary. I was feeling burned out. I had the Coronavirus blues! I wish I knew how to get the board together via skype or facetime or zoom. I haven’t learned how to do that yet. And I was missing our boardmembers, the backbone of our church, and my dear friends. We have continued to meet each Sunday, believe in God’s providence and protection, but not all could. And I miss them. Those with the courage and faith that continue to come each Sunday are so appreciated and encouraging to me – but I miss our entire Church family. It was getting me down. I got up to pray and seek God. In just a short time, He calmed my soul, impressed a few thoughts on me and I was able to go back to bed and get a little sleep.
What I did was write God a note. I said I miss my friends; I miss not meeting with the Board; I am stressed because I don’t know how to zoom; I am stressed and overwhelmed because of too big of a work load. There is too much for one person to do. And I am tired of the physical pain I have to deal with.
God seemed to say, “No, you can’t do everything - but you can do something. You can be faithful.” And I wrote down what to do. 1. Pray. 2. Read the Scripture promises, and 3. Walk. (Physical exercise) Romans 15: 4 says,
“everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through the endurance taught in the Scriptures and the encouragement they provide we might have hope.”
If you want to be encouraged; if you want endurance for the race; if you want to have hope – read the Scriptures. Well, I do that every day. That’s where I get the strength to go on. But I need to do it even more and make it personal. It is so important especially if you are quarantined at home.
Years ago on a TV show, a guest appeared that was a body builder. As he entered the stage with his huge muscular body the crowd went crazy as the body builder began to flex his muscles and show his power. The first question asked of him was this: “What do you use all those muscles for?” Without answering, the body builder again stood up and began flexing his muscles while the crowd cheered wildly.
A second time, the question was asked, “What do you do with those muscles?” Again, the body builder flexed his muscles and the crowd became almost ecstatic. After asking three times, “What do you do with all those muscles?” the body builder just sat in silence. He had no answers. The man was all power but his power had no purpose other than to show off and bring attention to himself.
Sometime after that, I was channel surfing and stopped for a moment on a show called “The Man Whose Arm Blew Up”. It was about a guy who took steroids to build up his muscles. He was so successful at it that his arms were as big as my thighs. Unfortunately, getting that big had consequences – and they weren’t all good. One of his arms literally blew apart. His purpose was to have the biggest arms in the world. He succeeded – but realized a little late that it wasn’t much of a purpose.
I was read somewhere that ten percent of the British people believe they would be better off dead, according to a survey. One in four people said they were unhappy in their jobs, while one in three felt exhausted, unappreciated, or underpaid. I think it would be about the same here.
Christine Webber, the psychotherapist who did the survey, said: "Sadly, it comes as no surprise to me that so many people are unhappy at home and work. It seems that people’s lives do not live up to their extremely high expectations. It is particularly worrying to see so many people dwelling on morbid thoughts, with a large proportion just plainly exhausted by life."
Some of you older folks may remember a song called “Alfie”. I never cared too much about the song, but the first line always got my attention. It goes:
“What’s it all about, Alfie? Is it just for the moment we live? What’s it all about when you sort it out, Alfie?”
A lot of people are wondering what life is all about. They are sitting at their homes and some are drinking; some are taking drugs; some are overeating; and many are depressed at this forced seclusion. Solomon, the wisest man who ever lived wondered about the meaning of life. He started out the book of Ecclesiastes by saying,
"Meaningless! Meaningless!" says the Teacher. "Utterly meaningless!
Everything is meaningless." Ecc 1:2
This morning I want to share with you some things that will make your life more meaningful. In fact, I believe that these things are the reason we live. It’s what we are all about. If we neglect them life is empty and meaningless and wasted. If we will do them – life will be fulfilling and happy and have purpose.
The first thing we must do for our life to have meaning is to discover God and grow in our relationship with Him. Rick Warren, writer of, “The Purpose Driven Church, said,
“Genuine spiritual maturity includes having a heart that worships and praises God.”
When Jesus was asked what the greatest command in all of Scripture was He quoted Deuteronomy 6:5 and said,
’You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.’ Matt 22:37 (NLT)
You were created to love God. No matter how successful you are in life; you may have fame and fortunate; you may be one of Hollywood’s brightest and best; you may have all the money of a Bill Gates or the political power of a president or Politian to affect the world – but if you do not have a loving relationship with Jesus - your life will still be empty and unfulfilled. You will try to replace that emptiness with erotic pleasures or the best drugs and/or alcohol that money can buy. After finding that does work, you will try to fill that emptiness with activities and good deeds and creativity, like Solomon did. But as Solomon found out – it won’t work. Why? Because you were designed to be happy; you were created for the purpose - of friendship with God. If you remove that element from your life it will always be empty and purposeless and sad.
So the first thing to do to have real joy in life; the first thing to do to find real fulfillment in life, is to discover Jesus. And He isn’t very far off. Jesus said,
“Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me. To him who overcomes, I will give the right to sit with me on my throne, just as I overcame and sat down with my Father on his throne.” Revelation 3:20-21
Jesus is always right beside us, waiting, longing for us to notice Him and invite Him in. If we will hear His knock on our hearts door, and open the door – He will come in. He will become an intimate part of our lives. That’s what it means to come in and eat with us. Like two people in love at a candlelit dinner, Jesus will come in and love us like that. If we hear His knock and invite Him into our lives and overcome the lure of our wrong desires – He said He will give us the right to sit with Him on His throne. We will become princes and princesses with Him. And that’s what you were created for. You were created to rule and reign with Jesus. You are a King’s kid – and nothing less will satisfy. So the first thing to find fulfillment in life is to have a loving heart that worships and praises God. The good news is that you can do that at home. They can lock you up, like the government did with John Bunyon, but you can still seek God and draw closed to Him.
The second thing necessary to find real meaning in life is to build and enjoy loving relationships with others. That’s hard to do at home. The self imposed or state imposed isolation makes it hard to build relationships with others. And no man is an island. I thought, one time in my life, that I didn’t need anyone. I thought that people just hurt you. And sometimes – no, often times they do. Because all of us are so flawed and so messed up; because we are so ignorant and so selfish - we do hurt each other. We say and do the wrong things – even with the best of intentions.
I have come to realize that it is worth the cost. Relationships are worth the cost. We were created to love. Jesus said the second most important thing God requires of you (the first being to love Him) is to love others. Jesus said,
“Love your neighbor as yourself.’ Matt 22:39 (NLT How much are we to love others? As much as we love ourselves. That means we are to care about them. We are to be good to them. We are to be interested in helping them. We are to love them as much as we love ourselves. Jesus even went beyond that. He said to love others as He loves us! That’s difficult.
Life was pretty miserable for me when I tried going it alone. In fact, I had to deaden the pain with drugs and alcohol. And that caused even greater depression. I was angry and bitter and hurt and fought at the slightest insult. When I turned to God, the first thing He began to teach me was to love others. The fruit in our lives of living for God is love and joy and peace and kindness and gentleness and self-control, to mention just a few, but those fruits of the Spirit make us loveable – and livable.
When we come to God, He will always direct us into a church family, because we need to learn to love others. We need an environment where people are hurting so we can help them and so we can have opportunities to learn how to forgive or to be kind and loving.
A lot of people short change themselves because they want to go to a church with perfect people. First of all, if there was such a thing! If there was – they sure won’t let you or me in. And secondly, there would be no opportunity to grow. One of the dangers of a big church is that you get lost in the crowd and have no opportunity to work on your people skills. If someone offends you – you move on. If they don’t minister to you – you find someone who will. In a small church people get to know you – and learn to love you – warts and all. If there is a need – you have an opportunity to meet it. If there is no ministry – you can start it. It has always been known that most of the leaders in any denomination come, not from the big churches, but from the little ones, where they have opportunity to learn how to lead. It is in the little family churches we have opportunity to grow and learn how to love each other. And the only way to find fulfillment in life is to learn to love others and learn to enjoy each other.
The third thing necessary in having a fulfilled life is to use our gifts and talents in service to others. Again, that pretty hard to do when you are confined to your home. God’s Word says,
“There are different kinds of service in the church, but it is the same Lord we are serving. There are different ways God works in our lives, but it is the same God who does the work through all of us. A spiritual gift is given to each of us as a means of helping the entire church.” 1 Corinthians 12:5-7 (NLT)
Do you understand that God has given you special gifts and abilities? I didn’t when I first came to the Lord. Sin beats us down and demoralizes us. We suffer from low self-esteem and inferiority complexes because that is what sin does to us. We don’t realize who we are and what we were created for. We don’t realize we are royalty. But the fact of the matter is that we are created for a purpose and we are given gifts and talents to carry out our purpose. What is part of the purpose? The Bible tells us.
“Their responsibility is to equip God’s people to do his work and build up the church, the body of Christ, until we come to such unity in our faith and knowledge of God’s Son that we will be mature and full grown in the Lord, measuring up to the full stature of Christ.” Eph 4:12-13 (NLT)
Your job is to help the rest of us grow up spiritually. God wants us to be unified and to have a right knowledge of Jesus. He wants us to be mature and grown up in the Lord until we look and act like Jesus. And you have been given a part in helping God to accomplish that work. So somehow, in some way, you need to be serving people. It might be teaching or preaching or leading a bible study. Or it may be cleaning the church or typing letters or doing some of the necessary but unnoticed work in the church. But somehow you MUST use your gifts and talents and time to serve other people if you want to be fulfilled and find meaning in life.
The last point I will quickly mention is similar to serving. If you want to find real meaning and purpose in life – you must be sharing your faith with lost people. No, it’s not the pastor’s job or the evangelist’ job. Every Christian has been called to share their faith with the lost. Jesus said,
“... As the Father has sent me, I am sending you." John 20:21
Just before Jesus ascended into heaven he said,
“Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.” Matthew 28:19-20
It is impossible to be fulfilled and happy as a Christian if you are not sharing your faith with others. It doesn’t matter if your leave tracts, share on a street corner, give out Bibles or invite people into your home to tell them about Jesus – but in some way, somehow, you need to be telling people about Jesus and what He has done in your life. If you have heard the Good News – you need to be sharing it with others. Pass it on. Let your life shine.
I believe that God is good. I believe He is loving. I believe He wants the best for us. And I believe He created us to be happy and fulfilled. He wants us – not to just exist – but to live abundantly. He wants our lives to be full and good. God doesn’t want us to suffer from the blues of any kind. He wants us to have a purpose and to be fulfilled in accomplishing that purpose. For that to happen, you have to make these four things I talked about happen. And the most important one is to develop a heart that loves God. I want to conclude by inviting you to make Him your own personal Savior. He loves you so much – and He is here, gently tapping on your heart right now. If you want to let Him in – pray a simple prayer like this:
I’m tired of living my way. My way has left me hurting. I need you to help me. I need you to heal me. I need you to forgive me of my sin and pride. Would you come into my heart right now? I give my life to you. From this moment on I am going to do my best to live for you.
In Jesus’ powerful name I pray,