Can you name this city? At first, this city was not a place of much importance, but soon it acquired a high degree of prosperity. In part, that prosperity came because this city was on a major transportation highway. The city began to flourish because of its advantageous position on this road. This city had businesses popping up left and right to handle the influx of people wanting to move to this area. People also wanted to move to this city because of the school. The school was known as one of the greatest in the area. The fine arts building, stadium and gymnasium this city had were second to none. Many of the citizens of this city began trusting their wealth instead of trusting God. They began worshiping sports and put these events in front of worshiping God on Sunday. Can you name this city? Of course I am talking about the ancient city of Laodicea! What, did you think I was talking about Greenbrier? Eerily, Laodicea and its citizens sounds a lot like Greenbrier in many ways. So what’s the point and where is the city of Laodicea? This real city is in modern day Turkey but you can find out about what Jesus is telling this city in Revelation 3:14-22. Verse 17 says “You say, ‘I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing. ‘But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked.”

 As we now struggle as a society to cope with COVID 19, might we consider that God is trying desperately to get our attention. It is obvious that we as a society have no control over this invisible and contagious virus. We can’t throw money at it and make it go away. We can’t hide from it in our beautiful new athletic arena or homes. This virus does not discriminate between those with wealth and those who struggle to survive on a daily basis. If you survive this virus, you as well as everyone will feel the adverse economic effects of shutting down an economy for weeks can do. No one will escape unscathed from COVID 19.  So what should we do right now as people.? Quite simply, we should repent. We should use this period of time to seriously reflect on how our sins have offended a Holy God. We should have this conversation with our children and admit with them failure of putting sports, careers, selfish pursuits and trusting in money instead of God. We should make a decision to turn from things that we know are not God honoring. We should listen to what Verse 19 says “Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline, so be earnest and repent.”

In closing, I think we have much to consider during this crisis. 1) God is in control and He knows our needs. Let’s start trusting Him in ways we never have before. This is silly to say, but if we trust Him for our Salvation, why can’t we trust Him in this situation? 2) Know God is allowing this pandemic to happen because He loves us. John 3:16 proves He loves us. As a parent, I become furious at my children when they disobey, that doesn’t mean that I do not love my children. It means I want a course correction to take place for their own good. God is desperately trying to get our attention to turn to Him. 3) During this crisis God has given us a chance to reset.  A chance to slow down. A chance as a family to actually be together instead of the mad dash out the door to make the next sporting event. Let’s use this period of time to disciple our children. You have heard me say many times that approximately 75% of young people leave the faith by the end of their freshmen year of college. I think the major contributing factor to that statistic is we never disciple our children. We leave that responsibility to the Church. While the Church should share or accompany, the major responsibility lies on the parents to disciple. 4) If and when this pandemic ends, let’s not go back to our old selves. Let’s put God in front of sports, finances, careers and selfish pursuits! 

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