Felipe Verduzco reported the news recently on Zoom. There was no teleprompter available, so he used cue cards. Even though many reporters are working from home in more casual attire, he wore a full suit while on camera.
Here’s what makes his time on camera especially newsworthy: Felipe is in first grade and reported the news to his fellow classmates.
His newscast began: “Good morning, this is Felipe reporting for NBC 5. The coronavirus is going around. Here’s some things you can do to not get sick.”
His mother, a former TV producer, says that “before he even started walking, he would stand in front of the TV watching Samantha Davies doing the weather. And every time he would hear her voice, he would literally stand in front of the TV watching Samantha.”
Now Felipe’s class is watching him.
A devotional I’ve ready daily for 27 years
You don’t need me to convince you that these are difficult days for everyone. In the midst of a pandemic unprecedented in our lifetime, one of our most common fears is that all we can do is not all that needs to be done. We feel powerless and wonder if our best is good enough.
Here’s the good news: as we work, God works. What can we do that positions us to partner with him most effectively?
Oswald Chambers lived one of the most extraordinary Christian lives of the twentieth century. A native of Scotland, his ministry of preaching and teaching took him to the United States and Japan. He founded a Bible Training College in London, then served as chaplain to British troops in Egypt during World War I.
His death at age forty-three was a tragedy to the troops he served and the family he loved. But his ministry has touched millions of souls he had no opportunity to know, myself included.
Oswald’s wife, Biddy, made his life motto the title of the devotional book she created from his various sermons and talks: My Utmost for His Highest. I’ve been reading daily from this guide for twenty-seven years now and have found it to be the most essential book in my spiritual life next to Scripture.
Its title motivates me constantly: find and give my “utmost” in serving God’s “highest” purpose for my life and work.
What does this look like in a pandemic?
Noah built the ark, and God shut the door
The psalmist asked, “Who is like the Lord our God, who is seated on high, who looks far down on the heavens and the earth?” (Psalm 113:5–6). His majestic power over the universe is a source of great encouragement in days of chaos and suffering. (For more, please see my latest website article, “The Lyrid meteor shower is peaking: A reflection on the staggering omnipotence and intimate love of our Father.”)
However, our Lord does more than look at the world: “He raises the poor from the dust and lifts the needy from the ash heap, to make them sit with princes, with the princes of his people. He gives the barren woman a home, making her the joyous mother of children. Praise the Lord!” (vv. 7–9).
But how does he do this?
God preserved humanity in the Flood, but he did so through Noah’s ark-building efforts. He elevated Joseph from slavery to the palace of Pharaoh, but he used Joseph’s fellow prisoner to tell Pharaoh of Joseph’s remarkable wisdom. Jesus predicted that “this gospel of the kingdom will be proclaimed throughout the whole world as a testimony to all nations” (Matthew 24:14), but he called Paul and others to do the proclaiming.
To be sure, there are times when God does what only God can do. After Noah built the ark, God shut the door (Genesis 7:16). He gave Joseph the ability to interpret Pharaoh’s dreams. He gave Paul his inspired revelation, led the apostle where he was to go, and protected him until his purpose was fulfilled.
But along the way, they gave their utmost to his highest. And the world has never been the same.
A decision worth making every day
Br. Luke Ditewig of the Society of St. John the Evangelist in Boston notes: “God’s mission is to restore and renew all of creation in a loving embrace. Jesus intercedes and invites our participation.”
We can pray for our Lord’s passion and compassion for those in need. We can then ask him to use us as his instruments of blessing and grace.
Along the way, as we give our utmost to his highest, we experience his utmost for us in return.
This is a decision worth making every day.