Here’s a Christian riddle, “What do 6, 23 and 90 have in common?”
Hint #1: These numbers represent parts of our Christian life that we don’t talk very much about.
Any idea? Probably not, because we normally don’t see these numbers by themselves or talk about them.
Hint#2: Thesenumbers‘complete’ some more popular numbers of 1, 1, and 10 respectively. 6 is related to first 1. The 23 corresponds to the second 1. The 90 goes with the 10.
Starting to get some thoughts? Here’s another hint.
Hint #3: Here are both set of numbers with their units: 6 days, 23 hours, 90% and 1 day, 1 hour, 10%!
Do you recognize these numbers now?
Final Hint: We call them: In the Christian community, we call them: Sunday, Daily Devotion and the Tithe.
So, what the 6, 23 and 90 have in common is that they represent the majority of our Christian lives.
For those of us with mathematical approaches, these numbers are the result of spiritual equations in our lives.
- Week – Sunday = 6 Days (Monday through Saturday)
– Day – Our Devotional = 23 hours
– Income – Tithe = 90%
Of course, our Christian lives have other numbers but I wanted to highlight three simple numbers as representatives of key spiritual disciplines in our lives. By examining our approach to the majority, we can improve. Some of you may even consider improving on the the 1-1-10 portion of your life and that’s okay.
In God’s eyes which numbers are more important? Is the 23 hours of the day more important than our daily devotional? Is God more interested in the 6 days than us religiously observing the 7th day? Is not “obedience better than sacrifice?” If this is true, then maybe we should examine our approach to the majority of our lives.
Let’s consider the perspective of those who don’t follow Jesus. They share the 6 days with us!
They’re with us for the hours that we’re in public. Do they care if we spent all morning in church on Sunday then leave a lousy tip after lunch? Our customers don’t care that we had our devotional when we speak harshly with them. Being faithful in our devotions, tithing or church attendance doesn’t make us a good Christian. This just makes us what I would call ‘devotional’or some might call religious. The world does not care what we do with the small portions of our lives. They don’t. They do care about the parts of our lives that touch them when we work next to them, when we drive, when we serve them in our business, when we see them at the gym, etc. How we spend the 23 hours is what the world cares about. If they don’t experience the love of God through us, then we have failed being good Ambassadors for Christ.
Let me illustrate. First of all, imagine that you are married. In your relationship, you and your spouse meet EVERY morning to share plans, dreams, pray, communicate and develop your relationship. Your time is extremely intimate, personal and fulfilling. At the end of the daily time together, you both leave excited and energized. Everyday you look forward to your special ‘devotional’ time with your spouse.
One day as you walk through town, you see your spouse sharing coffee with another person. You observe from a distance and you see them holding hands then intimately kissing and caressing each other. You decide to confront your spouse.
You walk over and ask, “What’s going on here?!? Were you really kissing this person?” Your spouse replies, “Well, yes I was, but there’s nothing to worry about honey. I’ll still have our time tomorrow morning. You know that I love you! Right?” You are shocked but you manage to say, “WHAT?” Your spouse then explains that they’ve been seeing each other regularly over the last month and that should be enough proof for you that this has not changed our morning devotional times.
At this point, you realize that you would trade all the devotions in the past year for a devoted spouse! Being devoted is much more important than being ‘devotional’. When we harbor a behavior that conflicts with the Word of God such as gossiping, not telling bosses or customers the whole truth, or cheating on our taxes, then we are being as unfaithful to God as the unfaithful spouse. Yes, it is this serious! How we live the majority of our lives matters to our Father and the world. They care.
When we are perfect at the small things but fall short in the majority of our lives, we live ‘devotional’ lives. God prefers that we are devoted. God wants all of us. In fact, God owns us. Corinthians says that we have been bought with a price (2 Cor 6:19- 20). God requires us to love Him with all our heart, all our soul, all our mind and all our strength (Deut 6:5, Luke10:27). Being ‘devotional’ is not the same as being devoted. God searches the earth to find those whose hearts are completely His (2 Chron 16:9). His standard is 100%, all the time with everything that he has entrusted to us.
In summary, being devotional is a habit or routine. Whereas being devoted is a state of the heart, an act of our will, a commitment of love. Therefore, let us devote all our lives to loving Him and loving others. God is worthy of this. God requires this. May our lives walk and live by His Holy Spirit so that we can live lives worthy and consistent with who we are in Christ.
JAY WESLEY DAWSON