This morning, Wednesday (“Mittwoch” in German meaning “middle-week”), I did a middling run at a middling pace at a middling time of the day (not too early, not too late). It amounted to 0.78 per cent of my marathon training program distance. 13km out of 1666.2km. No bust-outs, no speed intervals, no tempos, no great distance, just another middling run. Not memorable. Forgetful in fact. But important nonetheless. Another 0.78 per cent.
Which is kinda confronting in a 110 per cent world. In a world in which athletes, business people, leaders, church leaders are almost compelled to be giving not just everything, but ten per cent more of everything – an extra tithe on the top of everything if you will. And then compelling me, you, us to do the same. And there was my day trundling along at 0.78 per cent.
In a world of hyper-reality in which everything is “amazing”, “satisfying”, “awesome” and “vital” there is something ho-hum about 0.78 per cent. I mean, couldn’t I at least round it up? No, I couldn’t and I didn’t. That was the day it was. In fact the rest of the day has pretty much followed suit. Breakfast, kid to school (one stayed home), wife to work, dishes done, Bible read, prayers prayed, washing done, Easter talk for school assembly written. Even now I am watching the clock and it is around 78 minutes before I head off to pick up the child who went to school, plus another friend of his who needs dropped off.
And what does God think of my 0.78 per cent? Totally and utterly satisfied. The only One who truly lives up to the hype part of hyper-reality: “amazing, satisfying, awesome, vital” is, according to the Bible, completely satisfied in my 0.78 per cent. You see, God didn’t give the 99.22 per cent that I missed out on today, like he was topping up my efforts. No! In his Son the risen Jesus he gave 100 per cent. Nothing in my hand I bring. What nothing? Not even 0.78 per cent? Nope! Nothing! Simply to thy cross I cling. Away with this nonsense that we have to follow Jesus 100 per cent each day – I’d tripped over that one when I snarled as I tripped over my shoes at 5:45am this morning. The liberty to live normal life as an extreme adventure is found not in how much energy I expend in my achieving for Him, but in how much rest I experience in His achieving for me.
It’s been a vital message for me as a husband, father, son, church planter – and above all, follower of Jesus. It liberates me from despair. It shields me from pride. It keeps me going. It means that tomorrow I can give another 0.78 per cent to his praise and glory, maybe less if that’s what the day unfolds, maybe only 0.62 per cent.
But a finish line is coming. 100 per cent guaranteed.