Doing The Best of Things in the Worst of Times!
In the midst of very difficult and tumultuous times, a tribute was written to the local pastor of the Harold Church in the village of Staunton, England. It remains today on the wall of the church and reads, "In the year 1653, when all things sacred were throughout the nation destroyed or profaned, this church was built to the glory of God by Sir Robert Shirley whose singular praise it was to have done the best of things in the worst of times."
Virtually anywhere one turns today, we hear persons from all walks of life declaring that we are living in the worst of times and that in all probability things are going to get even worse. Yet for the child of God, whether one agrees with such pessimistic assessments or not isn’t the issue. The real issue is, even if it is true, how do we as the people of God do the best of things in the worst of times?
Before we can do the "best of things”, we must identify them. Whatever conclusion we reach as to what the best of things are, they must past this litmus test: The best of things from God’s perspective are the same at all times in history, for every generation, and in all locations and situations!
In my humble and sometimes accurate opinion, there are four basic things that when pursued will always assure us that we will be doing the best of things in spite of the times or the trends we find ourselves living in. These are:
- Desiring the Kingdom of the Father Primarily
- Believing the Word of God Pervasively
- Loving the Son of God Passionately
- Ministering in the Spirit of God Powerfully
We will consider only the first of these basic truths in this article.
Desiring the Kingdom of the Father Primarily
The kingdom of God isn’t an impersonal domain presided over by an uncaring ruler, who has a position, but no power, who would if he could, but by Almighty God, our Father in the heavens. This King is not a manipulative manager, a demanding tyrant, or a big-time bureaucrat, but a Loving Father. The Ruler of the Kingdom is the Father. Matthew 26:29, “But I say unto you, I will not drink henceforth of this fruit of the vine, until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father's kingdom.” Matthew 13:43, “Then shall the righteous shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father.”
The kingdom of God did not come into existence at the coming of Christ but instead became incarnational in history in Jesus. The kingdom was the dynamic of Jesus’ message and determiner of His methods because the kingdom was in Jesus and Jesus was the King of the kingdom. The gift of the kingdom is the pleasure-filled gift of the Father -- Luke 12:32, “Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom.”
If we do the best of things in spite of how good or bad the times, we will be continuously seeking first Father’s kingdom. In doing this, we have the promise that all these things -- food, finances, family, and future security, and all the resources needed to finish the assignment Father God has given us -- will be added to us. Jesus declared this in Matthew 6:33, "But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added to you.”
When Jesus came the first time, He brought His world with Him -- the kingdom of the heavens (the word for kingdom of heaven is plural – heavens) came with Him and was definitively established. This means that the kingdom of the heavens has come and is being victoriously extended, and will be fully established in its forever form at King Jesus' Last Coming.
When the reality of becoming a lawful partner in an Unshakable Kingdom and a loving companion with the Unchanging Person of the King grips your heart, then you will find yourself constrained by the love of God, challenged by the call of God, in spiritual conflict with the enemies of God, consumed by a passionate love for the King and His kingdom, and filled with hope, and confident that the prospects of the future are as bright as the promises of God. You will be empowered to do the best of things in the worst of times!
The essential nature of the kingdom of God is divine power, wrapped in love, directed toward reconciliation of man to God, to his fellowman, to himself, and to the creation, all for the glory of God. It is a present reign of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit --displacing the rule and ruin of the humanistic and the demonic.
The kingdom of God isn't about a piece of real estate called heaven, it's about a real state -- a real state of a living, loving relationship with the King. It's about the about the companionship of an Unchanging Person -- Jesus, and the partnership in the Unshakable Kingdom of Almighty and Sons! Jesus is the kingdom personalized, universalized, and realized!
When we really SEE the kingdom over us, in us, around us, we will no longer view ourselves as pessimistic pilgrims traveling through a weary land while awaiting rescue from a wicked and ever-worsening world. Instead we will see ourselves as co-partners in the Family Firm of Almighty and Sons -- King's Kids in training for reigning. Then we will go out into our troubled world as hope-filled ambassadors of an already inaugurated heavenly kingdom. We will not despair, give up, or feel that the cause of righteousness and justice is doomed because of the size and sounds of those opposing the kingdom of the heavens, because the power of the end times has broken into to the NOW by the resurrected, ruling King Jesus.
The most revolutionary, life-changing, world-impacting good news ever announced was the first public message declared by King Jesus: Now after John was arrested, Jesus came into Galilee, proclaiming the gospel of God, and saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.” Mark 1:14-15 (ESV)
When He declared that the kingdom was “at hand”, He was saying basically three things:
(1) the kingdom is powerfully active, now;
(2) it is presently available, now;
(3) it is personally accessible, now!
In His successfully discharging the obligations of the mission that His Father delegated to Him, King Jesus has been given all authority in heaven and delegated the use of that authority to us His co-partners in Kingdom Enterprises Universal! So what if it is the worst of times, we have the best of announcements in the undiminished hope and promises of the gospel of the kingdom of the heavens!
Father, may thy name be hallowed fully, thy kingdom come more fruitfully, and thy will be done freely, on earth as it is in heaven, so that we can do the best of things in the worst of times!