“For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: but whosoever will lose his life for My sake, the same shall save it. For what is a man advantaged, if he gain the whole world, and lose himself, or be cast away?” (Luke 9 :24 & 25)

Here in Britain, we are still in the midst of a third ‘Lock down’. Hopefully by the time you read this we will be coming out of it. But, who knows…

A large part of the government’s advertising campaign, to get people to abide by lock down restrictions, consists of a series of ads asking us; “…. can you look your shop assistant in the eye and say that your visit is essential…” or “… can you look the bus driver in the eye and say your journey is essential…”.

Well, I doubt very much that anyone really enjoys having to shop or travel wearing what looks like a nappy across their face or being treated as if they have leprosy. And what exactly can be termed as being ‘essential’? Food, of course is an essential, there is no denying that. Then we have clothes – and let’s face it, without clothes we would find this winter very cold indeed. Some supermarkets sell clothes as well as food, but what exactly is the difference between looking at clothes in a supermarket and in a clothes shop?

Charity shops sell an array of items donated to them, and to the charities this is an essential and popular way of raising money. While they remain closed these charities are losing out – big time.

Garden Centres are allowed to open because it is recognized that interacting with plants and nature in general is good and healthy for us, and for the sake of our mental health.

One of the most essential aspects of life though, is being denied to us all throughout this whole pandemic. It is that of being able to meet up with others. In keeping people apart and shut away from each other, our leaders are undermining the trust and mutual understanding that normally exists between human beings, and it is turning them against each other. It is also creating paranoia.

Behind all of this is fear, and I remember that at the beginning of all this, a lady I worked with at the time thought that the government frightening people in order to get them to do as they were told, was a very good idea. Fear of course was always a means of controlling people, and is indeed a very powerful weapon.

The only Being we need to fear – and that as a kind of awe, or reverence – is Almighty God. For He is our Creator and there is truly none like Him. He is above all! “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction.” (Prov. 1:7). Apart from this we should not be a prisoner to fear but put our faith and trust in Him.

However, we should not tempt the Lord by doing something foolhardy. In other words, we should not put ourselves in unnecessary danger just for the sake of it. When Our Lord Jesus Christ was tempted of Satan in the wilderness, this demon set Him on a pinnacle of the temple and asked him to prove He was the Son of God by casting Himself down, quoting part of Psalm 91. But our wonderful Lord could not be fooled or tempted as we know.

The most essential thing in our lives is – or should be – Almighty God and His Son Jesus Christ our Saviour. Without Him it will not matter how many restrictions are placed upon us, nor how many different vaccines they come up with! Perhaps we should ask our leaders in church and state if they can look our Saviour Jesus Christ in the eye and tell Him He is not essential? For this is what they are implying – pretty much – for we cannot sing in our churches or utter praises to our God. We cannot hug those that are beloved – or who just need someone to call around and visit them for company.

The ‘science’ and the pharmacy without God will not heal this land, for they are not constant, they change and often disagree. Our Cod changeth not!

All of us are blessed with certain talents and it is up to us to use them to the best of our ability – hopefully to help others, and where possible to bring people to the Lord. It is this that we shall be judged upon. Did we waste our time in this world, or did we use it to the best of our ability? Did we behave like the Scribes and Pharisees or were we like the Good Samaritan and helped someone in distress? For remember, Our Lord told us that when we take time to help someone, we are helping Him. And this is what we need to remember in this whole pandemic situation. We should not lose sight of who and what we are. Life is precious yes, but not so precious that we should wrap ourselves up in cotton wool and shut ourselves away in case we might catch this virus. That is NOT life!

So, I bring you back to the beginning and ask; For what is a man advantaged, if he gain the whole world, and lose himself, or be cast away?” Whether our lives are long, or not so long, let it be a reverence for Almighty God that leads us along the pathway – and not fear.

Take heart, and God bless.