By Ezekiel Olukolajo
There have been many conjectures, speculations and conspiracy theories around COVID-19 pandemic. From videos, articles and materials that have been making rounds on the internet and social media, some strongly believe COVID-19 is a deliberate invention of China as a weapon to directly or indirectly weaken the economy and global influence of the US; to some, it’s part of the agenda of the New World Order to increase their grip and influence on global affairs, and reduce world population by a determined percentage. To some, it’s directly connected to deployment of 5G, which in their view, is part of the technological preparations for one world government of the Antichrist. To some, it’s just a repeat of history, as every century in the past, has been noted for this kind of occurrence and outbreak of a pandemic. To some, it’s an experiment of biological weapons and part of the agenda of some nations to demonstrate their strength and send strong signals to the rest of the world.
Whatever the speculations, views or opinions of the world around COVID-19, as believers, I am not sure it’s wise for us to be part of the debates or concentrate on the different conspiracy theories, that would be a huge distraction for us. We may not be sure of what exactly to believe from all of these postulations, but one thing that is certain is that the Almighty God knows about the whole situation from beginning to the end, He has His own game plans and has allowed the pandemic to pursue a bigger purpose. From the happenings around us, it’s very clear the LORD wants to get us refocused; He wants us to discern the times and set our priorities right. It’s safe to conclude that COVID-19 is part of fulfilment of the end time prophecies, and for us believers, it is an urgent and solemn announcement of “Prepare for Home”.
It’s certain, things will never be the same again after COVID-19, never! Both for individuals, families and government of nations, we cannot expect things to be the same again. It will therefore be the highest level of insensitivity and irresponsibility for us believers and the Church to return to the mode we were before the pandemic. Luke 12: 54-56 says “And he said also to the people, When ye see a cloud rise out of the west, straightway ye say, There cometh a shower; and so it is. And when ye see the south wind blow, ye say, There will be heat; and it cometh to pass. Ye hypocrites, ye can discern the face of the sky and of the earth; but how is it that ye do not discern this time?” COVID-19 is a very strong signal that should never be ignored by any believer that is heaven-conscious.
After COVID-19, the world will enter another phase, and certain things should be expected.
1. Top on the agenda of governments and nations of the world will be economic recovery, how to re-inflate the deflated economy. Unfortunately, it will take decades for the nations to recover, considering the colossal loss caused by COVID-19.
2.Individual governments and nations of the world will be forced to review some of their policies and strategies. COVID-19 has really exposed the shallowness and emptiness of many nations, especially as it relates to emergency management, healthcare system etc.
3. From the lessons, the government and nations of the world will show more seriousness about finding a collective solution to the world’s common problems. Going forward, more than before, the drive for global and collective socio-economic agenda will take precedence over and above individual nations’ aspirations.
4. Review of International Relations and Diplomatic policies of nations of the world should be expected. There will be increased focus on regional trade, collaborations and alignments.
While the nations and governments of the world swing into actions and demonstrate commitment to the above, and other similar agenda, it will be extremely shameful if believers and the Church do not have deliberate plans around their own affairs and how to promote God’s interest in the scheme of things. I personally consider COVID-19 pandemic as an awakening call, because right in our face, we could all figure out what the situations would likely be after the RAPTURE. What has been happening in the last few months appears to be a dress rehearsal, a tip of the iceberg of what the world would go through after Jesus Christ has come to take away His bride (righteous believers) out of the world. So, as an individual, as a Church, what should we expect? Are we going back to our normal life, usual sermons, the same lukewarm approach and dispositions?
As believers, COVID-19 pandemic presents us a great opportunity to reappraise ourselves as individuals and congregations, irrespective of the parts of the world we find ourselves. When we come out of COVID-19, what should be our focus? What should be our priority? What should be our message? What should be our agenda? What should be our drive…..? As a Church, it is expected that we would do things differently, and I believe our deliberate plan should embrace the followings, among others:
1. Focus on preparing people for eternal life. Sermons of repentance and urgent call to escape hell should take priority over messages of materialism that we call prosperity. We’re all pilgrims and strangers on earth, we came with nothing, and it’s certain we will leave with nothing!
2. Each and every Church leader, Pastor and believer should have deliberate strategies to spread the good news of salvation to all within their spheres of influence – family members, friends, community, offices, professional colleagues, school etc.
3. Pastors, leaders and ministers of God, irrespective of their denominational differences, should be more willing and ready to collaborate, partner and come together to give a strong voice to God in their community. This is not the time to pursue individual denomination’s agenda or seek self-glory, when the Church of Christ as a body is losing influence and impact.
4. Invest in the main things! COVID-19 has shown to us that building big cathedrals and temples is NOT the main deal! The Church of Christ is NOT a physical building; the Church will survive, even without the physical buildings. Our investments should NOT be concentrated on bricks and blocks that will become meaningless after the rapture! It’s not a sin to have a good place to congregate and worship, but the major focus of our investment should henceforth be soul winning, missions and evangelism.
5. The Church should be prepared to take advantage of God-consciousness that has been sparked off by COVID-19 pandemic. At least, there has been increased level of awareness of the need to depend on God all over the world. With right strategies, we must begin to build on the opportunities to introduce the Savior –Jesus Christ to the world. Everyone has the right to hear, and should hear the gospel.
6. The Church must have a deliberate strategy to care for its members. Welfare has always been part of the Church right from beginning. A Church that does not take welfare of its members seriously is not following in the footsteps of Jesus. I agree that the primary purpose of the church is NOT welfare but to groom people for eternal life with God, but then, Jesus Christ forbids “sending the multitude away on empty stomach”. Mark 8:3;
We will soon come out of COVID-19 by the mercies of the Almighty God, but it’s important we don’t waste the experience. Things will never be the same again, and every believer should live with this consciousness. Our hearts should be constantly tuned to heaven; now is the time to be more conscious of eternity than ever. The coming of the Jesus is around the corner, the time is closer than we can ever imagine! This is not the time to sleep, this is not the time to pursue vanity; it’s time for all believers to awake from our sleep!
Let us challenge ourselves while it’s TODAY!
Ezekiel is an Insurance practitioner by profession and a teacher of the word by calling. He is specifically committed to fundamentals of discipleship and the Christian Faith. He also serves as resident Pastor in an Evangelical Church. He has written many unpublished articles, books, poems and songs. He is married to Mary a trained children evangelism teacher and accountant. Their marriage is blessed with children.