This year has been turned upside down by the coronavirus which has multiplied around the world, disrupting our rhythms and plans. The coronavirus has devastated lives and economies, taught us how to stay home and speak through a face mask, but it has also reminded us of the power of contagious interactions. I can’t help but think there is a parallel to the Christian life that should mimic this kind of unstoppable transferability.
Followers of Jesus are carriers of a “good infection.” When we put our faith in Christ, there is a transfer of God’s love and life-change that is meant to overtake us so completely that the influence of our lives overflow to others.
[Jesus] came to this world and became a man in order to spread to other men the kind of life He has—by what I call “good infection.” Every Christian is to become a little Christ. The whole purpose of becoming a Christian is simply nothing else. ~ C.S. Lewis
Jesus’ model for life-to-life disciplemaking began as an outbreak. It began with few and spread to many. In The Master Plan of Evangelism, Robert Coleman writes: “It all started by Jesus calling a few men to follow him … His concern was not with programs to reach the multitudes, but with [people] whom the multitudes would follow.” Jesus invited a few friends into a flourishing Kingdom life, inviting them to spend time with Him.
By focusing on just a few disciples, Jesus banked His ministry on demonstration, not explanation. He invited His disciples to be with Him. Jesus understood that the gospel was so contagious, so irresistibly life changing, that the ones He shared His life with would have no choice but to catch and spread this “good infection.”
It is hard to remember another time in history when we were more aware of the impact of our interactions with others. Social distancing doesn’t mean we have to live in isolation. I’ve heard countless stories of Bible studies meeting outdoors or online, neighbors organizing hangouts in driveways, people of faith using walks to share their lives with others amidst these uncertain times. Even in the age of COVID, Life-to-Life® discipleship still applies. If anything, it highlights the need our world has for Christ and stretches believers to think creatively and intentionally about how to answer the call.
Paul wrote to the Thessalonians: “We loved you so much that we were delighted to share with you not only the gospel of God but our lives as well” (1 Thess. 2:8). Let us remember this invitation as we navigate a new normal. Our lives may look different right now, but they still carry a contagious hope worth spreading.