Tuesday, December 19, 2006

14,000 Days

That's approximately the length of my life to this point.

I'm a little over 39 years of age. If you measured it in days, it would be somewhere over 14,000.

I say that because occasionally it gives me a little better perspective on things.

For instance, I have lived the majority of my life overweight and I'm now trying, again, to do better by myself and my body nutritionally. I started this "new way of life" about a month ago or 30 days ago as of today.

Every once in awhile I get on the scale and think, "It's not moving." Or I look in the mirror and think "Same old fat guy." You start to wonder if it's really worth it. This can be frustrating when I've gone out of my way to be particularly self-disciplined for a meal, or for a whole day.

But about the time I start to get discouraged, ready to throw my hands up and throw a box of Little Debbies down (my throat), I think, "It's ONLY been 30 days; 30 days out of 14,000." It's taken 14,000 days to acquire the current physical specimen that is my several-spare-tires-body. (I started this endeavor somewhere between70-80 pounds overweight).

And I think about my decision to try and make this a way (or is it "weigh"?) of life. I realize if I'm blessed enough to live another 39 years, I have 14,000 days left!

Now that may sound like a lot. But as you roll back the odometer, one day every day, they become more and more precious. I find the perspective and urgency that says, "let's do this day right", live it the way we won't regret it 1 day, or even 14,000 days from now. The first 14,000 went by so quickly.

Speaking of time and achieving a goal, I saw this little quiz yesterday:

How long does it take for a Christmas tree to reach maturity?
a. 3-5 years
b. 5-7 years
c. 7-10 years

(Answer will follow)

This past weekend our church choir presented their Christmas program. We were combining with a choir from another church, had really spent a lot of time and effort putting it together, and asked the congregation to consider inviting friends, family, and neighbors. In return, as the pastor I promised not to say or do anything that would embarass them in front of their guests. (Snake handling was out this weekend!)

After the concert, one of my friends came up to me and asked, "Did you see who was here?! It was my neighbor!! We've been asking her to come for 10 years! Every year she's said no, had another commitment, or not been interested. But THIS year she came. And as the choir sang and you invited people to pray, tears were streaming down her cheeks. I REALLY think it was a powerful experience for her!"

10 invitations in 10 years. Nearly 3,700 days. They'd invited and invited and invited. The neighbor had said no. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. And finally...yes.

It only took 1 yes to make the difference, change the course, and pay off all those rejections.

It got me thinking: What do you and I feel passionate enough about that we'd ask the same person, once a year, every year, for ten years, to come and be a part of it? Is there anything in your life, so amazing, so precious to you, so valuable that you wanted other people to share it so much, that you'd spend a decade patiently, persistently trying to give it away? Do you know Someone so spectacular that you'd take 9 rejections from someone just to get to one "Yes" in order to hook them up?

One of the most famous verses in the Bible reads:

"For God so loved the world, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life." (John 3:16)

God "so loved the world". I have a feeling that ONE way God's love plays out is in that type of 10-year-inviting persistence. I'm thankful for it this Christmas season. And these three numbers (14,000 days, 10 years, and the length it takes for a Christmas tree), just helped to give it a little bit of perspective for me).

By the way, the answer to the Christmas tree question is 5-7 years, according to my source.

May we start planting seeds today for 2011-2013! Maybe those seeds are weight loss. Or sharing our faith with a friend. Begin to plant now for a great payoff later.

Grace & peace

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