Disclaimer: This is not an effort to convince anyone to get vaccinated, only an expression of my personal convictions.
July of 2021, vaccines made it to our town in Cambodia, available (and free) to foreigners. Chinese-produced Sinopharm was the option. Beggars can’t be choosers; I was thankful to get a vaccine.
Unexpected byproduct of the shot: I stood up and went on a five-minute rant in full-blown Mandarin Chinese. A bystander was able to translate, said that I dedicated my life to the Chinese Communist Party in honor of the late Chairman Mao Zedong. It was the strangest thing! Just kidding. Like many, I felt tired and had a headache for a couple of days.
In the spirit of cost-benefit analysis, here are my convictions regarding why I opted to vaccinate:
- Refusing vaccination negatively impacts evangelism. COVID has thrown a wet blanket on face-to-face evangelism. Because one of the first major outbreaks in Cambodia came through delegates visiting from Hungary, some tend to distance themselves from a Westerner who wants to have an extended conversation. ‘Your country has a lot of COVID, right? When was the last time you were in your country? You get vaccine yet??’ (steps back)
- Refusing vaccination negatively impacts discipleship. A Christian’s choices reflect Christ to unbelievers. For example, we have a youth ministry in a nation that is 95%+ Buddhist. The community examines what Christians do – ex. putting their kids and by extension, families at risk for COVID. Trying to prove some political or fear-based conspiracy theory across a cultural and spiritual divide would likely be viewed as selfishness and significantly distract from the gospel.
- What about Pfizer or another non-Chinese vaccine? Traveling abroad to get shots (2-week quarantine, then jab #1 + 2-4 weeks wait for jab #2, the Visa process during Covid, etc.) would be a difficult, costly undertaking.
- Conspiracy theories. Earlier in my walk, the enemy was successful at convincing me of a variety of conspiracy theories. He used them to manipulate and make a fool of me… and by extension, the message I am called to preach (John 10:10; Eph 6:12; 1 Pet 5:8). Though I certainly do not trust the world system (2 Cor 4:4), most notably China, I try to err on the side of Scripture, caution and reason when it comes to conspiracy theories. Granted, this COVID situation has been a foreshadowing of what is to come. But unless it matches what the Bible says about the mark of the beast, then it’s not the mark of the beast (Rev 13:16-18). Irrational fear proves the Christian is not really trusting the Lord (2 Tim 1:7).
- Follow the Lord or His wayward bride? At 43 years old, I should have by now outgrown peer pressure. The church is essential for worship, fellowship and growth. We are commanded to worship together (Heb 10:25). Having learned the hard way, I am thoroughly convinced that we cannot allow our relationship with the church to replace or supersede our personal relationship with Christ. The Lord put church leaders in charge. We are to submit to their authority (Heb 13:17), as long as their directives align with the inspired, inerrant Word of God (Acts 5:27-29; 2 Tim 3:16); Acts 17:11). As Paul prophesied, in these last days, many foundational doctrines, designed to protect us, have been exchanged for fables that appease popular culture (2 Tim 4:3-5; Rev 3:20). Running in fear of the full counsel of God, she fights useless distractions. Please God, not the world or His wayward bride (Gal 1:10; 2 Tim 2:4).
- Can world governments kill me? When a Christian gives his life to Christ, he gives his life to Christ (Phil 1:21). I am ready to go. A pastor once preached that the Lord will not take a man until his work on earth is finished (Jer 29:11; John 17:4). In my past life, I ingested enough toxins to kill a herd of cattle. By His grace, I am still here and saved… not to sit wondering why but to seek Him (Heb 11:6) and carry out assigned duties (Rom 10:14, 1:16; Eph 2:10). The Lord has a plan for me (and you), and I trust that I (we) will be here until He is finished using me (us). The Lord has guided me around a lot of dangerous situations. Making this decision prayerfully, I trust that He would have halted it, if it were not His will.
We certainly live in the last days: “…the disciples came unto him privately, saying, Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world? And Jesus answered and said unto them, Take heed that no man deceive you. For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many. And ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars: see that ye be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places. All these are the beginning of sorrows.” Matthew 24:3-8
Any of us could die at any moment. CLICK HERE to find out how you can know enduring peace, God’s purpose for your life and be sure you will go to heaven when your brief time on earth is up.
“The Lord is… longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.” 2 Peter 3:9
Praise the Lord for salvation by God’s undeserved grace alone through our faith in the Lord Jesus Christ alone!
“Now the just shall live by faith: but if any man draw back, my soul shall have no pleasure in him.” Hebrews 10:38