How not to be bad news in the coronavirus crisis.

You’d imagine Christians, in their active years of retirement, would be nothing but good news in these troubled coronavirus times. I wish.

And I’m not making this up.

To be fair, most are heeding the official advice. Including limiting contact and putting church and volunteer activities on hold. Yet others, seemingly convinced they’re not vulnerable and God offers them some special protection, seem to think that life as it was is fine.

Over the past weeks, I’ve come across a surprising number of after-work boomers with an approach that puts them and others at risk. That may not be you, but perhaps you recognise the symptoms.

In which case, please take the following to heart – or use it to open the eyes of others.

Don’t behave as though you are invincible

Unlike the frailty of their parents when retirement came, boomers land on the shores of after-work with a spirit of ‘can do’ optimism.

Alongside that comes the fact that most of us don’t see ourselves as ‘old’ or ‘vulnerable’.

All of which can lead to seeing ourselves as invincible – and being tempted to behave as though it is true. Our parents came through the second World War and we’ll come through this one.

Recent research indicated 1 in 4 adults had yet to make any significant change to their behaviour since the outbreak began. This leaves me wondering how many of them were, in their own minds, ‘invincible boomers’.

Yet, in reality, our bodies are not all that they were. Nor are our immune systems. Should the virus strike us our invincibility would be out of the window. And, invincible or not, failing to make changes puts others at risk.

Perhaps you’ve heard it said or even said it yourself – ‘I’m not going to stop living’. But that’s not what is being asked. What’s needed is a different kind of living – one that demonstrates the reality of how things are and doesn’t risk your life or the lives of others.

Christians are not a special case

Multiply that invincibility with a sincere belief that ‘God is on my side and in control’.

Then add a sprinkling of ‘If God be for us who can be against us’. And it can be a toxic mix in the present circumstances.

As I read on Twitter recently –

I went to church today. I did not shake hands.

One friend actually became upset. One joked that he had more faith than me. One said we know God will protect us.

Don’t do this people.

He is so right – ‘don’t do it’. And if you don’t believe me believe Jesus.

‘God makes the sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust’, said Jesus in his Sermon on the Mount – Matthew 5.45.

In context Jesus was saying that everyone benefits from acts of nature – not just God’s special people. In the same way, it is clear that all natural phenomena is equally distributed.

When trouble comes the good guys and the bad guys are treated alike. There’s no supernatural shield round those who are on the inside track with God.

You may not fear catching the coronavirus. But loving our neighbour means we should fear spreading it. Bold acts of misplaced faith could bring suffering and even death to others.

In the midst of not being fearful we must also be responsible.

You may need to be brave

The social group each of us is part of has a huge impact on the way we behave. Standing out from the crowd is seldom comfortable.

That’s why, if your Christian environment is one where ‘life can go on because God will protect us’, it may take some courage. After all, who wants to be written off as a spiritual pigmy?!

But your survival, and the health and survival of others, may depend on you being willing to rock the boat.

If you think others will be helped by this please share using the links below.

Do you have an insight or experience about balancing faith and practical reality? Then do please share it here or on the AfterWorkNet Facebook community

Peter Meadows

Peter is AfterWorkNet’s Programme Director and presently under ‘house arrest’ and missing his grandchildren. He’s using his retirement to help churches, resource inter-church initiatives with a dream of escaping to Spain when travel permits.


  1. I’ve heard of older Christians saying ‘I’ve lived a good life, if it’s my time, I’m ready to go’ and carrying on with as near normal life as possible. However, this ignores the knock-on effects of who you might pass the virus on to or the fact you may be taking up a precious intensive care bed which could have been used by a younger person.
    I’m fully occupied delivering leaflets to nearby houses giving information about local mutual aid groups and coordinating responses. There’s plenty of useful activity we oldies can get involved in that doesn’t increase risk either to us or others.

  2. Thanks, Peter, This is excellent. I am going to pass it on to some of my own church friends who seem to have adopted the ‘God will protect me from the corona virus’ mentality. Sometimes I despair of the stupidity (story, I can’t think of any more appropriate word) of some fo our fellow Christians. But thank God for those who are responding well and, like our own church, making such good use of technology to keep us all together.

  3. Would it help if there was some explanation of what is happening and why, from a spiritual and biblical perspective. Many Christians perhaps have little understanding of why GOD may have allowed this unprecedented – in our lifetime at least – outbreak to occur. We have asked our LIFE Group – and particularly the more isolated, generally older members, to use this time to pray, to seek GOD’s Presence, and to study in HIS Word, Christian Classics – many available free or for a few £ on Ebay, Smile Amazon, etc. Here’s just one recent post: …………… “WHAT an opportunity, as we self isolate in our various degrees, to spend quality time seeking GOD! Prayer, Bible Study, digesting Christian literature – there are so many REALLY good classics old and new to recommend, many available on line – eg: Ebay and Smile-Amazon – for just a few pounds. There are a number of inspirational Christian films on DVD, many, many great inspirational messages on line. The messages are as strong today as ever they were! ………. Many people will be EXTRA busy, but imagine if those of us are not as busy as we used to be, if we REALLY seek GOD in these days, what will the outcome be? ……. Would it be that greatest move of GOD the world has ever seen that has been spoken about since at least 1947?! SEEK FIRST the KINGDOM of GOD and HIS Righteous – ie: get clothed in CHRIST by Grace – AND ALL these other things will be added to you as well! WHAT an opportunity!!” ……………. This is a wonderful time to get ready! At Pentecost 120 disciples had 3,000 new converts to disciple – ie: 24 each! Given another outpouring in similar measure, hands up who feels ready and able to do the same again?!

  4. This is very wise, balanced advice. God gave us brains and I strongly believe that he expects us to use them, and to accept advice from experts such as epidemiologists and medical personnel. It is logical and compassionate to behave as sensibly as possible and obey the experts’ advice.

  5. Brilliant Peter , I have had one fellow Gideon saying as Church is closed we will have a meeting in my home , total stupidity and totally careless without a thought for others and the need to contain this horrid virus , Blessings , John

  6. We need to be planning ahead, hoping that some people will be virus free by Sept.
    Last Autumn I was shocked by the announcement that there were enough apples wasted to feed 49,000 children an apple every day for a year. All because there was no-one to pick them.
    How can we/you help the market gardeners and fruit farms to be good stewards of all the good food God has provided for us? They cannot do it without us.
    I am just away to pick my first crop of Rhubarb !
    What about having a Real Harvest Week Fruit Picking then Harvest services could mean a whole lot more.
    Any more ideas?

    1. Thank you for your contribution but it doesn’t relate to the content of the post. It’s important though so we hope you could post this on the AfterWornNet Facebook.Thank you.

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The word retirement is not even in the Bible. What is taught in scripture is transition. There is nothing that says you work most of your life and then get to be selfish for the next 20 years"

Rick Warren, PurposeDrivenLife