We are all defined in some way by a number.
We are an age. A weight. A height. We get a score. A grade. A seat number. A number of likes on Instagram. A number of followers on Twitter. A rank. A number of dollar bills in the bank.
All of these numbers seek to dictate our worth. Our value. Our importance. Our legacy. This is why we instinctively obsess over them. Numbers have this nasty tendency to take over our minds and drive us into thinking that unless we are defined by a certain satisfactory number, we are not good enough. Not strong enough. Not pretty enough. Not happy enough. Not successful enough. Not loved enough.
This can apply to a lot of different facets of life.
In sports, athletes will spend hours upon hours to improve their scores or rankings. It becomes all about the numbers. In business, the CEO will work overtime and cut paychecks in order to improve profits. It’s all about the numbers. In school, a student will stay up long hours into the night to secure a 4.0 GPA. It’s all about the numbers. At home, a family will do all they can to spend as little as possible in order to pay bills. It’s all about the numbers. In pursuit of being “beautiful” in the mirror, a girl will run long miles and eat little calories to just look at herself and feel “okay” when she steps on the scale or posts a picture. It’s all about the numbers.
But guess what- I have a truth to tell you. It’s NOT all about the numbers. It’s about God. And you want to know something about God that is 100% true yet highly overlooked? He is NOT LIMITED by numbers. God and his power can’t be quantified by numbers, so therefore He doesn’t quantify US in numbers.
This isn’t to say that He doesn’t know how many of us there are- because He does. He also knows how many hairs are on your head, how many thoughts you have per minute, and certainly how many times you accidentally ram your knee into a desk per day (according to the mysterious bruises, I’m pretty sure I do this without realizing it all the time). So I am not saying He does not know the numbers. However, what I am trying to say is that the petty numbers we allow ourselves to get marked or stamped with here on earth are not worth living for. Often because people get so caught up in what place number they are, they forget what they were originally in the line for.
Teenage girls can get so focused on just having a guy in their life that once they get him, they forget why they ever wanted him in the first place. They spent so much time chasing and pushing other girls out of the way that once they reached the goal, it was not exactly what they expected. Another example is in the realm of sports. Runners spend the entire race trying to move up their position. But if they lose their love for running in the process, then what’s the point of winning?
So what do we do instead?
Chase life, not a number.
Chase love, not a number.
This is because a number already exists that carries much more weight in our lives. It’s our expiration date.
This is perhaps the scariest number of all. The reason it scares us so much is that it CANNOT be predetermined or stamped on our foreheads while we are alive. It can’t be chosen. It is not in our knowledge, and there is no way to put it there. It is the only number in this world that is truly concrete and unchanging….yet completely unknown.
With this in mind, we need to figure out what to do with the years before the expiration date arrives. What do you want your life to be about when you expire? You can’t chase and find fulfillment through the amount of “stuff” you have or followers you accumulate. However, if you chase Jesus, you will always get back what you put in- and more. This reminds me of something significant about numbers here on earth. We have to work really hard to get them. It often takes major sacrifice and dedication in order to achieve the desirable grade or score that we want. Now, there’s no problem with working hard and investing time into something we care about. That’s how things get done here. But Jesus works differently. He is the one investment that results in infinite, unquantifiable results. An all encompassing peace that cannot ever be explained or put into words. Yet, all He asks of us to receive this is to believe and trust Him. Follow Him. That’s it. From there, He leads us. It may not always be easy or convenient, but it’s always worth it. Unlike worldly numerical investments, God can’t fail. It’s impossible. An investment in Jesus is a completely perfect and fail proof investment. Plus, here’s another really cool thing about Jesus when you invest in Him:
He makes that concrete number…that daunting expiration date…a starting line instead of a finish line.
Eternity in Heaven isn’t numbered. It’s forever. This blows my mind. Once life ends, a new life in Heaven begins. So forget numbers. They will dissolve with time anyways. God’s love and purpose for us isn’t measurable. It’s incredible.
That said, if you are super math oriented and can’t stand the idea of ditching the numbers game, try focusing on these numbers instead:
A number of years to live.
A number of people to meet.
A number of lives to change.
A number of days to love.
Make them count.