An Encouraging Note from Pastor Mark
Wise as Serpents, Innocent as Doves
After choosing His twelve Apostles, Jesus sent them out to proclaim that the kingdom of heaven was near. Part of Jesus’ commissioning of the Twelve involved the promise of persecution. Jesus warns them that people will try to harm them, even kill them if possible. How should they behave? What should be their attitude? What does God desire from His people?
With the promise of persecution, came also the word of wisdom from Jesus. Matthew 10:16 (ESV) “Behold, I am sending you out as sheep in the midst of wolves, so be wise as serpents and innocent as doves.” What does that mean to be “wise as serpents and innocent as doves?” The wisdom of the serpent would save them from unnecessary exposure to danger; the harmlessness of the dove, from sinful ways to escape persecution. Or, it can mean, wise in avoiding danger but harmless in not forcibly opposing the enemy.
So, they were not to seek martyrdom, but if it came their way, they should not oppose it. If believers were being persecuted in a specific city, the wisdom of the serpent encourages them to stay away from that city. If they are forcibly taken into the persecuting city, they should remain faithful to God, even it meant their lives. They are not to seek martyrdom, but embrace it if it comes, remaining faithful to God throughout it all.
Now, let me apply this to our current crisis in the world. Covid-19 is not trying to persecute Christians, or anyone else for that matter. Covid-19 has no will of its own; it obeys the will of Him who is sovereign over everything. Nevertheless, we acknowledge that Covid-19 is dangerous, especially to certain people groups. It can harm and kill as we have already seen. So, what is our response?
We do not purposefully try to contract Covid-19 by exposing ourselves unnecessarily to known carriers—the serpent is wary of danger. Yet, we are not to neglect ministering to others in need. We do not look out in fear of Covid-19 and refuse to minister to needy people. If, while ministering to others a believer contracts Covid-19, he or she does not lash out at the person who transmitted Covid-19 to them—harmless as doves. The fear of Covid-19 cannot force us to neglect ministering to others in need. Yet, we must be wise in our actions.
Please use all the medical precautions to avoid Covid-19 that we have learned about, but do not forget to minister to those in need. If, while being extremely careful to follow the CDC guidelines, we contract Covid-19 while ministering to another, so be it.
For such was the attitude of Christians throughout history who were confronted with harmful plagues in their days. While others ran away from the plague ravished city, Christians remained and ministered to those in need. Some died; other survived. They did not seek death, but when ministering to others it came, they did not seek to escape it or lash out at those people, who infected them. They knew their reward was great in heaven.
So, we do not seek Covid-19, but we will not neglect ministering to others in need. For such a time as this we have been placed here. Opportunities abound to share the Gospel to people who are looking for a sure foundation upon which to build their lives. Theirs’s has just crumbled, ours’s remains strong. Go, proclaim that the kingdom of heaven is near, pointing them to Jesus, who alone can redeem and satisfy their souls.
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A Note From
Welcome. My name is Mark. I have been married to my best friend Teresa since 1986, and
am the father of three children, 28, 26, and 15. Coming back from Germany as church-planting
missionaries in the fall of 2000, Teresa and I have been ministering at Medical Lake Community
Church since June 2001. It has been exciting to see Medical Lake Community Church become
the church it is today.
Medical Lake Community Church is a non-denominational church founded in 1883 by a
church-planting missionary Cushing Eells. Today, we meet together in two services in a historic
building, with a warm, comfortable, inviting feel. Visitors often say how welcomed and valued
the church made them feel. We care about people.
By its very nature the Church is a family. Embracing the family dynamic, we seek to
build strong relationships. If you are looking for deep, committed relationships, we promise to
provide the environment where these can be established. Since we are a “perfectly imperfect”
church, we give each other lots of love and grace, because none of us have arrived at perfect
Christian maturity. After visiting us for one service, it will be obvious to you that we really
enjoy being around each other.
We believe the Bible is the ultimate authority for faith and practice. So, we are
committed to teaching and preaching the Bible in a way that explains its meaning, focusing on
the context of the passage and how the modern Christian can put it into practice daily. This is
our commitment to you: if you want to know the Bible and the God of the Bible, we will
faithfully teach week in and week out the truth of the Bible.
We invite you to make Medical Lake Community Church your church home. If you
would like more information about who we are, and how we serve our community and the world, please feel free to give me a call at 509-299-3286