I am writing this for teens in Central Manor Church’s youth group, but I pray that others may find it to be an encouragement as well.
When I was a sophomore in college (about 15 years ago), I read a book by John Piper entitled, Don’t Waste Your Life, which had a profound effect on the way that I view Christian life and the supremacy of Jesus Christ. In it, Piper writes, “God created us to live with a single passion to joyfully display his supreme excellence in all the spheres of life. The wasted life is the life without this passion. God calls us to pray and think and dream and plan and work not to be made much of, but to make much of him in every part of our lives.” I believe these sentences capture the essence of his book.
Since I read that book, I’ve read many more, and I haven’t thought about it that much in recent years. But, as day-to-day life has altered significantly for us, a similar phrase has been floating around my mind.
Don’t waste your quarantine.
No youth group. No school. No work for some. No sports. Few places to go. This is an unprecedented moment in our lifetimes, but it does not take God by surprise. So, in this moment, how do make much of God?
• Spend time with God. Time (unlike toilet paper and hand sanitizer) is a commodity that many of us have much more of than we did last week. Use more of it to spend with God because our biggest excuse (lack of time) doesn’t hold up anymore – not that it did before. Read God’s word. Read lots of it! Pray throughout your day. Psalms 111:2 states, “The LORD’s works are great, studied by all who delight in them.”
• Be the church. For at least the next two weeks, we won’t be assembling together in a large group, but that doesn’t mean that our faith is on hold! In a tumultuous world, demonstrate a deep faith in the sovereign God. Be intentional about reaching out to each other and your friends outside of church. Pray for each other. Encourage each other. Build each other up. Use Instagram and Snapchat to make much of God. This moment is a really unique opportunity to represent Christ well. Galatians 6:10 states, “Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us work for the good of all, especially for those who belong to the household of faith.”
• Rest. The precedent for rest was given in the first two chapters of the Bible, and as image-bearers of God, it is essential for us. Many of us don’t prioritize rest in our daily lives, but it is truly important for our spiritual, physical, and mental health. Don’t stay in bed all day, but get eight hours of sleep. Limit the time spent on our phones and screens. Go outside. You can still do that. Rest provides us a break in routine to contemplate and celebrate God, so use this ultimate break in routine to do just that. Mark 2:27-28 tell us, “Then he told them, ‘The Sabbath was made for man and not man for the Sabbath. So then, the Son of Man is Lord even of the Sabbath’.”
I don’t know how long these restrictions will be in place, but I do know that as time passes, it won’t be easy. However, we serve a faithful, mighty God, so we need to make a big deal about Him – during times of social distancing and during times of normalcy.
Don’t waste your quarantine.