Summary: This sermon deals with finding God's purpose not in the goals that have been set or achieved, but rather in-between their inception and completion.
Living in the In-Between
We’ve been examining in are time together this whole idea of seizing the day and living our lives according to God’s purpose. What I’d like to do today is continue with these thoughts and look again at God’s purpose and how we go about living our lives in-between its inception and its completion.
I’ve looked at this concept in the past, but I believe it really fits well with this new trajectory the Lord has us on.
Living life as a Christian goes something like this: God gives us a vision, a calling, and a purpose, but He doesn’t give us all the details. This is disturbing to those who like things neat and orderly, or at least somewhat under control. Instead what happens is that we receive these details and instructions along the way as we continue to look to Jesus, the author and perfecter/ finisher of our faith.
That’s how God planned it because He knows that we just don’t like to call home, that is, we don’t pray as we should, and like any parent God wants to talk with us, so He withholds the details and gives them along the way as we travel on this journey of faith, this journey towards spiritual transformation.
Far too often, however, we miss out on the life God gives because we mistakenly think that life happens when we reach our intended goal. But when we do we miss the life God has planned because we fail to realize that life happens in-between as we walk the path between now and then.
And so many people find themselves empty and disillusioned because when they finally do reach their goal they’ve missed the whole point as to why God gave them that goal in the first place, which is so they can experience His abundant life in the process.
Now, I know what many of you are thinking, “If what I am going through, the pain and suffering, the mental anguish and emotional turmoil is God’s abundant life for me, then give me less abundance.”
Yet, consider Paul, who when through hell and back, being stoned, whipped, beaten, imprisoned, just to name a few, and then struck with a physical disease which he prayed three times for God to remove it, yet through it all He experienced God’s abundance, when the Lord said, “My grace is sufficient and My power is made perfect in weakness.” (2 Corinthians 12:9)
It was God’s abundance grace through the trials that then saw Paul said, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” (Philippians 4:13)
And so today we’ll be looking at the life in the in-between.
These are those moments that once they’re gone they’ll never come again. God’s purpose is what happens in the in-between, and if we miss it we just might miss the life God has planned for us in the future. This is why we looked at living our lives in such as way that we’ll seize those God opportunities so we don’t miss out.
We often measured the wrong things as to what’s valuable and what’s not: like holding meetings verses holding our children or grandchildren, working for recognition verses spending more time with family and friends.
You could say; it’s the difference between being efficient and being effective. What’s the difference? Being efficient is doing things right. Being effective is doing the right things.
You see, we can do things right, but are they the right things to do?
As a society we’re extremely efficient. We have smart phones that can connect us to the world, and we have laptops so we can take our computers wherever we go. We’ve become efficient, but are we effective? With all these efficiencies our families are falling apart, marriages are eroding, and our kids are running amuck.
A man came running into his doctor’s office saying, “Quick, give me what you’ve got for chronic hiccups.” The doctor said, “You want the best thing?” And the guy says, “Yeah.” The doctor said, “You want it now?” and the guy says, “Yeah.” And so the doctor hits the guy as hard as he can.
The guy staggers, coughs and gives the doctor and incredulous look. And the doctor said, “How’s that?” and the guy said, “What did you do that for?” And the doctor said, “You wanted the best thing for chronic hiccups. So, are you hiccupping any more?” and the guys replied, “No, but my wife waiting in the car still is.”
The doctor was efficient, but not effective.
What we have to do is re-evaluate life, or could I say “re-value” life. What we may have thought as being valuable, may not be as important as we thought, in fact, it might be empty.
John Wesley said, “I judge all things only by the price they shall gain in eternity.”