Summary: Living a life that contrasts with the cynicism and darkness of the surrounding culture.
Forever Living in a Whatever World
Philippians 1:27-28; 2:12-16; 3:20-21; 4:11-13
Dr. Roger W. Thomas, Preaching Minister
First Christian Church, Vandalia, MO
Introduction: Whatever! That’s one of those little “young people’s” words that exists for one purpose and one purpose only—to drive older folk crazy. Sometimes whatever is just filler. It doesn’t mean anything. It’s just punctuation. Other times it voices indifference. “Do want a sausage or anchovy pizza?” Whatever. Translation—either one is alright with me. I don’t really care. But sometimes whatever drips with sarcasm. “Would you please turn your music down or pull your pants up?” Whatever! Translation—who do you think you are?
Some world watchers insist that such innocent terms are not nearly as innocent as might expect. Big meaning sometimes hides behind little words like whatever. They note that many in this whatever generation have grown up with everything that money can buy and little that it can’t. Record numbers have been raised by TV, single moms and broken marriages. They have been over entertained and under cared for. Their world has shown them that you can’t depend on anything. Everything changes. Values have disappeared. Truth doesn’t exist. Everyone eventually abandons you. No one really cares. To survive they have developed hardened hearts and cynical spirits. To every situation, they have learned to respond with a shrug of the shoulders and a whatever.
Whatever is the safe response! Whatever makes no commitments. Whatever keeps its options open. Whatever pretends that it doesn’t care. If you don’t care, then you can’t get hurt. At least that’s the promise. Whatever keeps life at arms length. Whatever builds a defensive wall against people who will only get close and then hurt you. If the psychologists and sociologists are right, there is a lot more to whatever than just an empty word.
If you sometimes feel like you wish you could just crawl safely behind the walls of your castle, pull up the draw bridge behind you, and just say to your world whatever, then you need to listen to Philippians. Philippians insists that Christians need not be cynics who expect the worst so we won’t be disappointed. Philippians calls for a joy-filled life in a trouble-filled world, a peace-filled life in storm-tossed world, a light giving life in a darkened world.
Over and over again, Philippians looks at the hard time of life in the face and says whatever. But this whatever is different. This whatever comes from faith not indifference. It doesn’t say “who cares.” It shouts, “I care.” How can anyone maintain a forever life in a whatever world? By remembering that this isn’t all there is! We know where we came from. We know where we are headed. We know who we belong to. We know who holds tomorrow. Because of that we can take whatever comes. We can handle whatever life throws our way not because we are tough, or because our shell is hard, or because nothing matters to us. We can handle whatever because of the One who lives in us, through us, and for us.