My boys started school this week, Noah a sophomore at Poway High and Micah a seventh grader at Twin Peaks Middle. They are both generally pleased with their classes and teachers and are happy to be back at school. What does this mean for me? I get mounds more work done without interruptions, except the crazy dogs bugging me. Do I miss my boys? Absolutely—I love making them breakfast on lazy summer mornings, and I love having our family event nights and staying up late and sleeping in. But there is something really cool about routine. It keeps us all focused and we have settled into it nicely. All in all, a smooth transition this week.
Being back in a routine reminded me of numbers; I don’t know-- something about the logical and sequential part of having a routine back brought me to it. I hate numbers; how I made it into a UC school back in the 80’s with only geometry under my belt is amazing. I hate math, but my seventh grader loves it—and he can’t ask me to help with his homework because my eyes roll back into my head. And when you add the alphabet to numbers, what the heck is that all about? Who cares about x and y? I guess bridge builders care, and I am mighty glad they know their alphabet numbers. All I know about numbers is that 50% off is a good thing.
But numbers matter—in some ways, and they don’t matter in others. For instance, teens these days really care about numbers when it comes to the amount of followers on Instagram and the amount of likes they get on social media. This is important to them, but it shouldn’t be. But that is their world.
Numbers matter when you throw a party, and put a ton of work into it—you want numbers—you want your peeps to show up. Numbers matter when your cancer markers go from 53 to 4! Numbers matter when you count the number of appointments and chemo infusions you have had. You just keep counting down and hoping it is over soon. Numbers are exciting (but really don't matter) when the number of views on your blog is 16,627 as of today. Numbers matter when you are balancing your checkbook and when you are trying to stick to a budget (what’s a budget anyway?) (That’s the chemo brain and the cancer perspective talking).
Some people count calories and miles they ran and keep records of their training. This is fine if you can keep up with it. Some people count the numbers of peeps hanging out with them. It makes them feel better (extroverts—just don’t understand sometimes). Sometimes the number of people who show up at church is important—it makes it feel more alive and energetic and exciting to be worshipping with a whole bunch of people. But those numbers don’t really matter. At Oasis youth group we will give the same amount of love and time and energy to a crowd of ten or a crowd of 90. And numbers don’t matter to Jesus. Unless it is the number of disciples who come to know and follow him.
My favorite number has been 31 for many years. I was 31 when I got married. We were married on Dec 31 (yes a New Year's eve celebration). But the reason I love the number is because it signifies to me 3+1. Three for the Trinity and one is me. Combined we make a strong force to contend with. God, Jesus, the Holy Spirit and little old me. With cancer. Who seeks the Godhead daily for strength, peace, healing and comfort.
Jesus was 33 when He died, and he rose three days later. He only did his major ministry for three years. Those numbers are important in knowing who He is. When it comes to numbers, are you counting your days as precious and holy? Are you using the time you have been given to make an impact on your world? Our days are truly numbered—we don’t know when the next trial or tragedy will come. But we know that we can surmount it with 3+1. Now go out and don’t count numbers that don’t matter, count numbers that count.