Kingdom Principle – Time in the Kingdom is not linear, nor limited
Love is our only limitation….
Every year in August, rough 30 new families enter my life for a season. During this season these families will be with me three times a week, we will have a number of extra gatherings and celebrations. The parents entrust their children to me, to develop them, encourage them and to train them to be the best they can be. Then the season simply ends 4 months later and they go on their way. I love being an AYSO Soccer Coach and I believe that my players leave each season being loved. (they may not say it that way… but it is a reality for most) Most years my teams lose just as many games as they win, because I am developing them to be soccer players and to understand the whole game and every position. In fact, if my teams don’t lose, I have missed a valuable teaching opportunity for them about how the game works. Regardless of how the season ends up, the conclusion of every season is a celebration and awards ceremony where by each player is honored or the accomplishment they have achieved. Do you plan to end the season of life with an awards ceremony, regardless of how many wins or loses you have along the way?
If so, you are living your life in seasons, rather than rising and falling with every “game”. The way of the world is to celebrate a win, and to cover up a loss. We live in world that thinks win-lose – meaning if I win, someone else has to lose and vice versa, if I win, someone else has to lose. But in the Kingdom of God, losing is not a loss and winning is not the goal. Moses did not enter the Promise land, but his life was rivaled by none others and his body did not wither –He did not enter the goal of the Promised Land, yet clearly the Scriptures tell us “that no one has ever shown the mighty power or performed the awesome deeds that Moses did in the sight of Israel.” Paul did not go to the church of Thessalonica in vain; for he went to share his life regardless of the outcome. And clearly there were some “losses” requiring this letter to be sent to address them.
God does not view time (or life) in the same way that we do as is made clear in the Psalm…. Life in the Kingdom of God is not measured by a linear time-line that is supposed to improve or get better, nor is it limited to being defined by the events that are taking place at the moment. The mistake of the Pharisees in this passage is they accept failure as defeat and fail to see the bigger picture of the development that Jesus is bringing to their lives.
The Kingdom of God moves in “Chronos” seasons that are filled with “Kairos” moments. (A couple of Greek words) Moses had many highs and lows of kairos moments. Yet as the end of life, what is celebrated is the overall chronos of time he spent walking in friendship with God. The main issue the Paul is dealing with the church of Thessalonica is a time issue – First, they have been believers for only a short amount of time (maybe as short at 3 months), Second, Paul was only with them for roughly 3 weeks of time (Acts 17:1-4) so they are now moving beyond the kairos moments with Paul and headed in to a chronos season – and they are heading down the wrong path. Finally, Paul proclaimed the return of Christ as imminent and their need to be ready. Now people had died before this return and others has begun to “waste time” and are disregarding the chronos aspect of time, simply living for the kairos moment. (1 Thess 4:13-5:11) Regardless, Paul is convinced that his time with them is not a wasted effort. When you capture the balance and beauty of Chronos and Kairos – there becomes your heart becomes aligned with the Kingdom.
Chronos refers to clock time – time that can be measured – seconds, minutes, hours, years. Where chronos is quantitative and dimensional, kairos is qualitative and significant in and of itself. It measures moments, not seconds. Further, it refers to the right moment, as in the opportune moment. Kairos is not the past, it is not really even the present, it is now. As a soon as you live in the now – that moment too is passing. “Now” cannot be divided, but it can be expressed in saying there is no time like NOW. To experience the now, after all, one must be alive. The dead know nothing of now. Therefore, the now, the kairos, is a concept of eternity and the present at the same time. Indeed, eternal life is an everlasting now, in which there is no sequence, no before and after. (2 Cor. 6:1-2). However, too much of the church has over emphasized the spiritual truth of kairos and completely disregarded the value of Chronos time. There is no divide between the sacred and the secular we need not supersize and over spiritualize the moment.
Without chronos time, there is no movement, time fails to have a before and after, time as the future passing through the present and so becoming the past. From chronos we derive such English terms as chronic, chronicle, and chronology. Thus, we call an illness chronic if it lasts a long time. Might we also say if we remove illness, through healing – chronic healing is found in Rev. 22:2 Again we must learn from our karios moments, the deep meanings to be passed on to others. Paul’s defense of his ministry all emerged in time, but has significance because Paul captures each kairos moment for the Kingdom.
- Their work was NOT in vain (2:1).
- It was NOT characterized by error, uncleanness, or deception (2:3).
- Their preaching was NOT aimed at pleasing people instead of God (2:4).
- They did NOT use flattery (2:5a).
- They were NOT greedy (2:5b).
- They did NOT seek personal glory (2:6).
These truths of Paul were gleaned and discovered not because of the amount of time Paul gave, but rather the meaning and movement within the time – each of those NOT’s came out of a moment of being with the people in the NOW. And Now, Paul living in chronos awareness write and maintains relationships because he can not simply live in Kairos thinking – that is often the nostalgia that churches and people get stuck in… thinking “if only we could go back to then…:
Paul uses the phrase “You, yourselves know” – to point the Thessalonians back to a chronos time, where they have missed the kairos meanings – (1 Thess 1:5, 2:2, 2:5) The bottom line for Paul is love and the way in which he and his companions have loved the church of Thessalonica is according to the command of Christ.
Culture cries out for us to repeat and master kairos moments which are wonderful, and to remove karios moments which are painful. Kairos moments have significance both as wonderful and painful and they have significance because they are not Chonos. To move in the Kingdom you must not mistake a “kairos” moment as having the same significance of the “chronos” season and vice versa. There is truly value in both, if you lose every game in the season, yet at the end of the year party a player lights up and shares that they have never had so much fun being “loved” on and valued by the coach. The “Kairos” moment of the team party overcomes the painful “chronos” season. However if after winning all season long, a player never returns to the game because he feels rejected by the team. The successful chronos must not be used to cover up the painful kairos reality.
When you are going through life always out of time, you are being defined by “kairos” moments. While each moment is to be fully lived into, don’t ever let a moment define you. God moves in seasons and some seasons are filled to many moments while others seem to simply flow. Read the gospels and discover how the flow of Jesus’ ministry follows with the Hebrew Calendar. We have just come through a season (in the Hebrew Calendar) that is filled with many moments. The question for us is to be aware of the season and the moment. So step back and look at the season of the past 45 days not simply the up’s or down’s. What do you know now that you did not know 3 months ago and how is that impacting your next 3 months.
Wrapping this us: To love the Lord with all you heart, mind and soul and to Love your neighbor as yourself, requires you to live in a realm of timelessness. Meaning – you can’t do it (in time, unless your perfect) so rather than keeping score on how you do and how are others doing. Release the expectations and simply live loved, and love others…
Do you feel like you’re always running out of time – take 2 min at the end of each day to make three bullet points.
- One person who crossed your path that day that made you smile or simply pause to reflect in a positive manner.
- One karios moment you are thankful for from that day.
- One act of kindness you can add to your day tomorrow. (This can be to smile at the person that crossed your path that day. It does not need to be big, keep it very simple. – Say Good Morning to the barista at Starbucks or your co-worker you usually walk right past) This is a planned chronos effort to capture time and potentially create kairos moments in others lives.