[CF Devotionals] 2007-04-13 - In the Meantime

Part 1

I'm going through another very hectic period in my life, and am earnestly looking forward to a quieter and simpler time, later in the Summer," when life settles into a new "normal" for my my family. "In the meantime," we are living one day / one week at a time, "making the very most of our time," as Paul instructed in Ephesians.

Ephesians 5:15-21 (Amplified, the Lockman Foundation) Look carefully then how you walk! Live purposefully and worthily and accurately, not as the unwise and witless, but as wise (sensible, intelligent people), 16 Making the very most of the time [buying up each opportunity], because the days are evil. 17 Therefore do not be vague and thoughtless and foolish, but understanding and firmly grasping what the will of the Lord is. 18 And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery; but ever be filled and stimulated with the [Holy] Spirit. 19 Speak out to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, offering praise with voices [and instruments] and making melody with all your heart to the Lord, 20 At all times and for everything giving thanks in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to God the Father. 21 Be subject to one another out of reverence for Christ (the Messiah, the Anointed One).

If you think about it, much of our lives is spent "in the meantime." Perhaps you are waiting for medical test results to come back. In the meantime, you wait. You pray. You worry. You plan. You wonder about the future. Or perhaps you are working at job that you dread going to every day. One day, you hope to have one with better hours, better conditions etc. Even though most of us need to "pay our dues" - it's good for us! - in the meantime, it's not a lot of fun to spend 20-60 hours per week at a job that we don't enjoy.

Maybe you are waiting for Mr. or Ms. Right, and in the meantime, you face many lonely, dateless nights. We are all awaiting the return of Christ. In the meantime, we are to be, as Christ was, "about our Father's business." Since we spend so much time "in the meantime," what is our Father's business, which we should be busy attending to (pardon my prepositional misplacement).

In the meantime, we need to be asking every day that God teach us in the "meantime" situations. If it's a job, we should be giving it our best in God's name, as Paul reminded us in Colossians. We Christians should never "just do what it takes to get by."

* Worship regularly. The passage above illustrates that one facet of our Father's business is worship. We should all be worshipping, serving and fellowshipping regularly with a local body of Christ, unless physically incapable of doing so. And in fact, as Paul taught us, our entire lives should be acts of worship.

* And really, everything can be summed up (as Christ taught) by loving others, as our Lord commanded us. How do we "flesh that out?"*

  • Feed the poor. (Proverbs 19:17 tells us that what we give to the poor is given to God. (I would adivse doing so in ways with high accountability - good stewardship of God's resources.).

  • Forgive someone who has harmed you (Mark 11:25). This does not mean acting as if no harm was done. We'll deal with this more in an upcoming devotional on true forgiveness.

  • Give a listening ear to someone who is hurting (Romans 12:1). Enter into their pain, and walk with them as they work through it.

  • Seek justice (Micah 6:8). How do we proceed in that direction? It depends on our gifts and opportunities. Some options: Pray. Write a Letter to the Editor (though "few are chosen," you can try!). Inform (nicely, not "in their face!") friends and relatives of the injustices. Support those (like most police officers, prosecutors and soldiers) who are seeking justice. Vote. As Christ revealed to us, those who "have" are obliged to assist those who "have not," whether it's freedom, money, happy families, warm homes to sleep in at night or any other blessings.

In my next devotional, we'll look at what we should not do "in the meantime."

* Please note: The above list is not intended to be exhausitve. Inevitably when we write a devotional like this, someone will write us, angrily complaining, "why didn't you didn't include so-and-so??!! How could you leave this out?!" etc. It's meant to give some starting points.

Jan

[email jan] cfdevpray@juno.com
http://www.cfdevotionals.org