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Enjoying the Process

Fit to Preach

My dad had a six-bypass surgery when he was 47. He struggled on for another thirteen years of life, but struggled is the key word.

I turned 47 in June. It’s been on my mind all year.

In a sermon about medicine just a couple days after my birthday, I had a long paragraph about some of my physical problems. I won’t repeat it all here, but to sum up, I have been more weak than strong, and not always as edifying about it as Paul in 2 Corinthians 12:10.

For 2021 I didn’t make any resolutions, but I did choose a theme, which is FIT. It has two or three applications, but the first is, as you should certainly expect if you’ve read this far, related to my body.

I mostly bring it up, not necessarily for seeking public accountability, but because I just read an entire section about qualifications for preachers regarding their health. The book is, The Joy of Preaching, written by Phillips Brooks.

“[E]verything that you do for your body is not merely an economy of your organs that they may be fit for certain works; it is part of that total self-consecration which cannot be divided, and which all together makes you the medium through which God may reach His children’s lives.”

—Brooks, 49

If God gives illness and pains and weaknesses and afflictions, then we know He has His reasons. He uses affliction to teach us His statutes (Psalm 119:71), and He afflicts some, especially ministers, that He might also comfort them so that they can share that comfort with others (2 Corinthians 1:3-6). By His grace I have learned, and by His grace I have been a medium of comfort. Also by His grace, I’m still thinking about what I can do on my end to be less of a “sick minister [who] is always hampered and restrained” (Brooks, 48).

Categories
Enjoying the Process

And Then You Die

I started reading a book called Four Thousand Weeks yesterday. I am the sort of sucker who bought it shortly after seeing someone else mention it, because I am the sort of sucker who regularly (and wrongly) thinks that I could get more D.U.N. if I just had a more optimized system, the right app stack, a cleverer acronym, or was just a different person altogether, ha!

Anyway, I’m still in the introduction, and I don’t know where the book will end up; is it even possible to agree with anyone completely? But Burkeman has already encouraged me with this:

The world is bursting with wonder, and yet it’s the rare productivity guru who seems to have considered the possibility that the ultimate point of all our frenetic doing might be to experience more of that wonder.

—Burkeman, Four Thousand Weeks, Location 55, emphasis added

It reminds me of this inspired life-buoy from Solomon:

There is nothing better for a person than that he should eat and drink and find enjoyment in his toil. This also, I saw, is from the hand of God.

—Ecclesiastes 2:24

It’s enjoying the process. It’s seeing the wonder of God’s many gifts. And it’s what the “man of God” called wisdom:

So teach us to number our days
that we may get a heart of wisdom.

—Psalm 90:12

As the title of Burkeman’s book signals, a life of 80 years (a number Moses figured for those with strength, Psalm 90:10) is about four thousand weeks. Not only is that calculation not morbid, it’s an opportunity for both mighty work and whacking gratitude (Ecclesiastes 9:10).