In light of the global COVID-19 pandemic, which has soared worldwide to 211,853 confirmed cases and with three people in The Bahamas with positive coronavirus tests, worshippers at Sunday service at Bahamas Harvest Church were reminded that people are going to be looking at them as believers to see how they respond in this crisis. Pastor Mario Moxey encouraged them to make use of the opportunity to be witnesses for the Lord, and let their light shine.
“You name the name of Christ, you call yourself a Christian, they want to see how you respond when there’s coronavirus in your neighborhood. They want to see if you freak out. They want to see if you go underground. They’re watching you. You are a witness for the kingdom of God in one sense, in the other sense you are a witness in the kingdom of God – this is a time for you to preach. Seize this opportunity,” said Moxey.
Their response to coronavirus, he said, should have them walking in truth and not being deceived; keeping calm and carrying on and not panicking; and standing firm and being witnesses.
“This is an opportunity to let our lights shine for Jesus Christ. This is an opportunity for you to witness your story … your truth, ‘cause this is when people are really receptive,” said Moxey.
“You and I should be thinking … ‘look at what’s going on around us, how can we spiritually benefit from this? How can we leverage the gospel?’ Because I’m telling you, you have people in your circle who are a lot more receptive to the gospel today than they’ve ever been before. There’s nothing like when people are terrified and afraid.”
As believers, Moxey said they’re not afraid because they know they ought to keep calm and carry on, and fear is not part of their vocabulary.
“God has not given us the spirit of fear, but of love … of power, and a sound mind. Perfect love drives out fear. We ought not to fear, because we’re putting our trust and our faith in God, but there are others who are terrified, and that gives us an opportunity to share the gospel with them, so they can be like us – not afraid. This is a time to let your good deeds shine out. This is a time to let your faith shine out. This is a time to let the Word of God that’s on the inside of you shine out.”
In the same vein, he encouraged them to exercise common sense.
“When stuff like this happen, we tend to communicate in extremes – we’re either overly rational, or overly emotional. We need to find the middle of the road, and keep calm. Some of us inherently downplay the situation … ‘oh, there’s nothing to it.’ There is something to it and we have to take the precautions, we have to wash our hands; we have to prepare and pray, and minimize the touchy-feely stuff.”
Moxey owned up to being a touchy-feely person and said, he, too, has to apply common sense in that area of his life.
“Some of ya’ll don’t like no one to touch ya’ll so ya’ll straight. But if you’re like me, you know that you can’t touch people like you’d want to touch them,” said the pastor.
He also spoke out against hoarding, which he said speaks to people’s irrationality.
“I believe you should be prepared with your food and supplies, but you don’t have to hoard things you don’t need and when others go to the store for stuff they need, it’s not there.”
Moxey, who was supposed to speak to the subject “I Still Believe”, switched his message on Sunday morning to address how a believer should respond to coronavirus, which he said he thought was critical, given the atmosphere the country is in currently.
Moxey reminded the congregants of the ministry’s theme for the year, the basis of which says ‘tomorrow is coming’ and asks whether they were ready for it. He also reminded them of Joshua 3:5, which refers to people sanctifying themselves, and the Lord doing wonders among them.
“There is a biblical pattern throughout scripture. God always required Israel to sanctify themselves when he was about to do something big in their lives – and this pattern is pretty consistent. Anytime God is getting ready to do something humongous in the life of His people, He always requires you to sanctify yourself.”
He said people who have crossed the line of faith and given their lives to Jesus Christ are not cut from the same material as those of us who have yet to give their lives to Jesus Christ. Because they’re different, he said, they think differently, and respond differently, because righteousness is within them and they’re not common.
Moxey and the congregation also observed a moment of silence for 8,724 deaths to date from the disease.
As the world addresses coronavirus, Moxey said he’s been asked whether the pandemic is a sign of end times, which he said was a fair question. But, he said Jesus wants people to do three things – walk in truth and not be deceived; keep calm and carry on and not panic; and stand firm and be witnesses.
He urged worshippers to pay attention, especially to older persons in their family, and give extreme care, especially when there are other underlying health conditions such as diabetes and high blood pressure.
Moxey reminded them of the symptoms of coronavirus – fever, dry cough, fatigue, sputum (a mixture of saliva and mucus) production, shortness of breath, muscle pain or joint pain, sore throat, headache, chills, nausea or vomiting, nasal congestion.
He told them if either of them or anyone they know begin to manifest any symptoms, it gives them an idea that perhaps something is wrong. Moxey also reminded them that if they have any symptoms, to not go to the hospital, but to stay home and call a doctor.
The pastor also spoke to the church members about the other side of the effect of the pandemic, the economic impact, especially for a nation which has tourism as its number one industry.
“This is not like a two-week thing,” said Moxey.
And with currently no vaccine or cure, Moxey encouraged them to have hope in God.
“God isn’t helpless. God isn’t powerless. God is not without a remedy. And if God so chooses, He can do that. He can help us in this situation. He’s the truth that we can depend upon. God knows all,” he said.
Moxey said people can learn so much about their relationship with God based on how they respond to crises such as this pandemic.
“We can have all the faith in God, and so strong, and the moment something happens, we become weak, and scared and terrified. This is when our faith kicks in. We don’t panic. We stay calm,” he said. “Philippians 4:6 – Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. That’s what God does, so we ought not to panic and get nervous and start freaking out.”
Moxey said God will rescue them from every trap and protect them from deadly disease.
“That’s truth! That’s the truth that we depend upon. He will protect you from every deadly disease. God protects. When Moses was leading the children of Israel out of Egypt, God had sent 10 plagues upon Egypt, the last one was death and God gave Moses instruction to anoint the doorpost. Exodus 12:7-13 – They are to take some of the blood and smear it on the sides and top of the doorframes of the houses. But the blood on our doorposts will serve as a sign, marking the houses where you are staying. When I see the blood, I will pass over you. This plague of death will not touch you when I strike the land of Egypt.”
Moxey encouraged worshippers to anoint their homes and family with oil for protection.