For various reasons over a period of decades, the number “27” has developed significance in my life. That’s a little strange for a lot of reasons, not the least of which being that “23” has always been considered my “lucky” number. After all, I was born on the 23rd and my Decatur High School basketball jersey bore that number. If you wanted to see it back then, your best chance would have been during warm-ups before each game.
On a sad note, my mother-in-law passed away at a very young age on January 27, 1986 as a result of a brain aneurysm. Then on July 27, 2011, my mom passed way after a long battle with heart disease.
December 27, 2002 was the day Connie and I boarded a plane in Birmingham and landed in Guayaquil, Ecuador. The next morning we drove up into the Andes mountains to Cuenca where we began our adventures as IMB missionaries.
Of course, there are 12 days each year designated the 27th. Many of those days I am reminded of these historical, life changing events. But, I anticipate each of those 27th days for yet another reason. Those are the days I get to read again Proverbs 27. And in particular verses 23-27 because they are so remarkably full of wisdom.
The initial phrase, “know well the condition of your flocks”, grasps my attention every time I read it whether it happens to be on a hurried day or one allowing time to soak it in thoughtfully. Whether they realized it or not, the writers of the US Constitution were following this advice when they required the president to deliver a “State of the Union Address”. Article 2 Section 3 requires it. Regardless of how we may view the real value of speeches offered through political filters, the premise of the practice gives weight to the wisdom of knowing well the condition of your flocks.
Of course, very few of us own any flocks or herds nowadays. So where can we apply such advice to our lives in 2014? Here are six areas that come to mind.
- Personal health. Yes, a yearly visit to your doctor while you seem (and hopefully are) healthy is well worth the effort. Yes, check your weight regularly and make adjustments as needed. And, yes, get up off your gluteals and exercise keeping a record to prevent that little voice from saying, “you don’t need to exercise today”.
- Relationships. How much of your quality time has your family received in the past week? How are you doing with strengthening your marriage? Do your neighbors know who you are and Whose you are? How’s your personal time alone with God these days.
- Maintenance of personal property. Taking reasonable care of essential blessings like our home, vehicles and even “toys” honors God by expressing gratitude to Him and that we realize it all belongs to Him.
- Work. Indeed, another blessing from God. Are you giving each day your best effort, even when it seems to be a total drag? That attitude sure worked for Joseph while he was a housekeeper and later a prisoner confined to a pit. Have you discovered what allows you to be awesome? If not, don’t stop searching until you find it!
- Knowledge. The most amazing organ of the body is made to acquire, store and use knowledge. Are you continuously learning about your work, your profession, your calling, your hobby? Never before has knowledge been so instantly available as it is today. At least two challenges result from the easy availability of so much knowledge. The first is choosing what is useful and what should be ignored. The other is taking time to allow new, useful information to penetrate deeply enough to make a positive difference.
- Finances. Where does your income go each month? Does your spending reflect your faith in God? How do you and your spouse feel about debt and about living within your means? Are you investing for the future?
Finally, on this 27th day of January, 2014 I am making a commitment to myself to dedicate time each week to writing. I realize I am not very good at it, yet. But, I do enjoy writing for a variety of reasons. It’s time for me to do the work required to improve. To those who take the time to read my posts, I am grateful. To those who take the time to comment, I am indebted. Especially to those who sacrifice valuable time to share additional thoughts, suggestions for future posts and yes, for any constructive criticism.
So, how else can I say it? I’d love to hear from YOU!