Summary: Part one focuses on what we do as we prepare to go through difficult situations.
In The Mean Time Part 1
It has been said that we are either getting ready to go through something; are already in the midst of going through something; or we have just came through something. Regardless of our situation, we are always dealing with or getting ready to deal with something. Some of us, even if we are not dealing with our own “something”, are also helping others deal with theirs so there is always “something” going on. And, for those of you who may not realize it, we do not always have time to prepare for these “somethings” because they come suddenly. Each one of you are either getting ready to, or are currently going through (even if the situations just came out of the blue), or just completed going through something. In every phase of our dealing with something, there is a time when we think about what we are getting ready to go through, what we are going through or just came through. This time of thinking is I want to refer to as “In the Mean Time.” When we are getting ready to go through something, we often spend our in the mean time thinking about how we will get through it. We spend time thinking about all of the potential outcomes of our decisions. We spend time preparing for the worst case scenario. When we are actually in the midst of going through, we spend our in the mean time thinking about what is happening around us and how we can best handle the situation. Sometimes it is here when we realize that we cannot control the situation and we stop and pray, giving it over to the Lord. Finally we reach the point when we come out on the other side. When we have come through, we spend our in the mean time thinking about what happened; how we came through; how to stop it, if possible, from happening again; and we sometime remember just how good God really is. Regardless of what you are dealing with, there is a “in the mean time” when you are thinking about what will happen, what is happening and what has happened. This is what I want to talk about this morning in this message I have titled, “In the Mean Time”.
In Matthew 6:25-27; 33-34, Jesus says the following: “For this reason I say to you, do not be worried about your life, as to what you will eat or what you will drink; nor for your body, as to what you will put on. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air, that they do not sow, nor reap, nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not worth much more than they? And who of you by being worried can add a single hour to his life? (33-34) But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. So do not worry about tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” In these verses Jesus tells us not to worry, advice which goes against the very core of what we actually do. But we must understand why He says this. Jesus was able to say this because of how He spent His “in the mean time”. Jesus was able to say this because He had a relationship with God that He was encouraging us to develop. In these verses He tells us what to do in the mean time if we want to always be able to walk through a situation and have peace. He says in verse 33, “But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” This is what we must be doing in our “in the mean time” and I will address this more later in the series.
What we do in the mean time directly impacts how we go through something. The out come of most of our situations are actually decided or influenced by what we do “in the mean time.” Let me give you an example. At the company that I work for, we are facing another round of job terminations and realignments of responsibilities. Some of the job terminations took place 3 weeks ago with upper management. Next week another level of management will be affected with greater than 50% losing their jobs. Then over the next 4 months decisions will be made that will affect managers at my level and at the representative level. So I have roughly five months to “go through” to find out if l will have a job. Right now, while decisions are being made out of my control, I am in my in the mean time. While some people in my position are actively looking for another job, I am seeking God’s Kingdom. While some people have actually stopped working because they are unsure of if they will have a job in a few months, I am seeking God’s righteousness. Why am I doing this? I do this because Jesus promised me that if I do this, everything that I need will be provided to me. My job is to seek Him; His job is to take care of the rest – those things I need in this life. When I stop trying to do His job and start doing my job (seeking Him and His righteousness), things fall into place. While others have shut down and started preparing for the worst, I have chosen to spend this “in the mean time” looking to the one who brought me to this job. I believe that He is my source, not my company. What happens with me rests in His hands, regardless of the decision that my company makes. Having this understanding allows me to sleep at night because it is not about me, it is about God. So this morning I want you to consider what you are doing “in the mean time” when there is uncertainty and you do not know what will happen. What are you doing “in the mean time” as you are going through? And finally, what are you doing “in the mean time” when you have come through? So let’s start with the beginning, when we are preparing to go through something that we can see – something that does not come at us out of the blue.