Lately the question of what is essential is thrown out in almost every COVID conversation. Food is essential, so grocery stores are in. Health is essential, so medical personnel, you are in, too. Safety and security, yep, essential. So, police, firemen and all those who we need on call, stay put. The church, essential? Nope, nonessential! Wait a minute! Nonessential? Says who? If there is one thing I know for sure, God and everything He has ordained is essential! We may not be meeting in person for worship … but that does not make the church nonessential. We have never stopped being the church and closing a building only challenges us with new opportunities to do what is essential.
We just wrapped up our study in the 23rd Psalm. If ever there was an essential Psalm, this is it. Psalm 23 conveys the journey of our lives and the care of our Good Shepherd. This past Sunday, we ended with a reminder that in the end, like King David, “we will dwell in the house of the Lord forever,” that is our hope and longing. In all this discussion about what is essential, I am reminded of the words of Jesus in Mark 8:36, “… what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his soul?” That sounds essential to me!
You can do everything right in this life, do everything the world says is essential and miss what God says is essential for your salvation. That is the mission of the church. The Apostle Paul writes …
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation. Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God.
2 Corinthians 5:17-20
That is why we exist on this earth - to do the one essential thing: return the lost sheep of this world to the Good Shepherd so that they may dwell in the house of the Lord forever. We who know the Shepherd’s care, compassion, presence and protection are called to join our Good Shepherd in inviting the world to come home … now and forever.
THIS WEEK: Join me in reaching out to a friend, a neighbor, or a co-worker who might be going it alone in this season without the Good Shepherd. Spend time in prayer asking the Holy Spirit who you might reach out to. Call them, ask how they are doing, pray for them and let them know that they matter to God. You might even look for an opportunity to talk about how God is with you in the midst of all that you are going through and how He is giving you peace, joy, faith, hope and even love in midst of everything.