Rob Gronkowski made headlines this week with the announcement that he is reuniting with Tom Brady in Tampa Bay.
The tight end, often considered the best in history at his position, retired a year ago from the New England Patriots. He explains that his body was in great need of a year off to rest and recover. And he seems to be excited about playing away from the dictatorial accountability for which Patriots head coach Bill Belichick is famous.
Gronkowski did not need a pandemic to force him to take time off. But his story reminds us that finding ways to rest and recover in a fallen world is valuable for more people than professional football players.
Many forced to stay home are using the time to watch television, a fact demonstrated by Netflix’s announcement that it added 15.8 million subscribers in the first quarter of the year. Others are finding innovative ways to do what they do best, as shown by John Krasinski’s hit YouTube series, Some Good News.
Two ways to redeem the pandemic
Christians can learn from both strategies.
We were made to need rhythms of work and rest, as our Lord showed us when he instituted the Sabbath. (It is interesting that this commandment receives more words of explanation than any of the other Ten Commandments; cf. Exodus 20:8–11). Jesus told his disciples during a busy season of ministry, “Come away by yourselves to a desolate place and rest a while” (Mark 6:31).
To use social distancing for spiritual growth, we need a strategy: a regular appointment with God and a plan to read his word, pray, worship, and practice other spiritual disciplines. Our Father will lead you into greater communion with him if you will follow.
And we should be finding ways to minister during the pandemic that we could not before it began. This is one way God redeems what he allows. Churches are reaching many times more people through their online services than were attending in person. Our website’s traffic has more than doubled in recent weeks.
As people are looking for help and hope, these days are an unprecedented opportunity for us to share God’s good news with them, knowing that our Father has already equipped us for what he is now calling us to do.
Writer Alice Briggs noted: “You are qualified to write, to paint, to create wealth, to do that crazy thing that stirs in your heart and ignites your dreams. You are worthy to do this thing. God did not make a mistake in choosing you. He knew exactly what he was doing, and he chose you for this task on purpose. This is the real you—it is your task. No one else can do it better than you.”
What is your “task” today?