2020 was a disaster on so many levels, the greatest of which was a worldwide pandemic that we couldn’t even take on as a common enemy with a united front. Instead, we politicized it with everyone did what was right in their own eyes without regard for a greater common good.
So, half our population thinks the pandemic is overblown and carelessly spreads it to others by refusing to obey the CDC guidelines for limiting travel, masking, maintaining social distance, and avoiding indoor gatherings through this holiday season. I know the odds are in your favor that you probably won’t get it, and even if you do, you will recover quickly. Too often, however, the odds catch up with people who live carelessly, either for them or someone they love. The virus offered us the opportunity to lay down our lives for others, and so far, we seem to be failing that test.
And support measures by some governors who overreached their authority by unnecessarily closing all businesses of a certain type and not letting business owners find ways to continue their business with proper safety measures. If we’d all been able to respect social distancing recommendations, I wonder how many more businesses could have stayed open, but people wanted to party, gather in large groups, and hang out indoors. How can you trust a government that lies to us for three months that masks won’t protect you when they knew it wasn’t true? And why does the federal government keep sending stimulus money even to those who have kept their jobs and maintained their incomes instead of targeting those who actually lost their income? It’s chaos out there, but you can still live in the genuine peace that makes no circumstantial sense.
Now, as we enter 2021, what does the world need most from you?
More than ever, our world needs an army of people who will live generously in a world dominated by the selfish and the arrogant. I know it’s hard when everyone else looks out for their own self-interest, and you feel you’ll get overrun by them. A couple of weeks ago, I talked with a friend about living free of the pain of our own self-centered thinking on a podcast. That conversation continues to flow into places in my heart that is setting me freer in his love. You can only afford to learn selflessness when you are confident Father’s love has got your back.
And by living generously, here’s some of what I think of…
- Asking God to show you ways to care about the marginalized people around you. Spend a bit of each day putting yourself in their shoes and asking how you would want someone to respond to you.
- Passing your stimulus check on to those in need if you have maintained your income through this pandemic. If you don’t know anyone, give it to a group providing food for those who don’t have it.
- Sharing whatever you have with those around you—extra resources, a virtual shoulder to cry on if they need comfort, an unexpected phone call just to check on them, etc.
- Putting on a mask when you’re around others, even if you think it isn’t necessary, just because it sets them at ease.
- Not taking offense even to the selfish and toxic people around you who want to start an argument. Just move to a safe distance and love them as best you can from there.
- Taking the vaccine when it is offered to you, even if you’re afraid it may have side effects. Jesus took the cross for you, knowing the side-effects were torture and certain death. The vaccine is the only way to get to herd immunity without millions of others needlessly dying. (And please don’t send me your anti-vaccine conspiracy theories. I don’t buy the fact that thousands of medical professionals, the same ones I went to for heart surgery and others I know used for cancer, would be involved in a deception like this to wreak mayhem on the populace for no apparent reason.)
- When you do something risky, like flying or getting caught in a large crowd, quarantine yourself for 14 days, especially from elderly and high-risk people.
- Learning the joy of not taking offense even when people mistreat you. Keep loving as best you can.
- Don’t try to fix people around you; it will only push them deeper into their delusion or brokenness.
You may have different ideas. Just remember living generously is not primarily following a checklist; it’s a different way of navigating the world. Every day ask yourself what generosity would lead you to do. Learn the joy of an others-focused life, and even if the world kills you for it, you will have lived a life worth living.
The best thing about living generously is that no one can make you do it. Our default setting seems to be doing whatever we think is best for us. Expanding our perspective to do what’s best for others around us is a major shift of thought. If you don’t choose it you’ll never discover its joy.
May you all have a really blessed New Year, but looking for ways to bless others with the gift of grace Father has given you,
Live Loved Free Full
The e-book is out on Kindle, but release of my new devotional book has been delayed until mid-January due to some issues with the virus at the printing plant. But starting on Friday, January 1, I’ll be posting the first devotionals online so you can read them if you want to start at the beginning. However, this book is not written in that kind of order, so you can start whenever you want throughout the year. If you haven’t pre-ordered your copy yet, you can do so here.
Don’t Miss This
Our last two podcasts of 2020 were two of the best of the year, focusing on how to become increasingly one with love. That conversation is still re-writing wonderful things in my own heart and changing how I live in the world. If these are the only podcasts you listen to this year at The God Journey, you will find them well worth your time.
A Head’s Up
Early this year, Wayne will release a new limited series podcast called My Friend Luis. In 10 immersive episodes, you will hear the story of Luis’ life growing up in an impoverished village in Mexico and the dramatic story of how God revealed his love to Luis on the worst night of his twenty-one-year-old life after he had been assaulted by police officers and then swept into a canal filled with sewage.
The story continues with how he has lived in the U.S. and how God brought him and Wayne together in a friendship that has changed the trajectory of both of their lives. It is an incredible story of struggle, friendship, and overwhelming grace. Look for it around mid-January.