Words of Worth

Lose Count

February 24, 2012

My most favorite math skill, and probably the only one I truly enjoy and use every day of my life, is the skill of counting. I love to count things and I love for things I do to count. For example, I love to count how many days there are until Christmas vacation and I like for my good deeds to count. In other words, I like for my neighbors to notice when I scrape the ice and snow off their cars. At those times, I’m tempted to just leave a little ice patch in the corner of their windshield where I can carve, “Cleaned by Sheryl” and then receive the credit for my act of kindness. Counting, and having things count are real Joy Makers for me.

Recently I was on a business trip to Orlando, Florida where most flights are like daycare facilities in the sky, with tons of noisy, excited children on board. This trip, however, I only counted a handful of kids on the flight which made for a very peaceful trip. That was a real Joy Maker.

And usually, when departing from the Orlando airport, the security lines are as long as the theme park lines except without the fast pass option. That’s a real Joy Taker. So counting can come in handy. This trip I did a quick head count of the lines, located the shortest line, got in it, and joyfully prepared to speed right through security. That was a real Joy Maker.

Well on my way to beating a path through security check in record time, with only three people in front of me (did I mention how much I enjoy counting?), the x-ray machine went down and the only record I broke that day was for the longest wait in line ever and in any airport I have ever been. That was a real Joy Taker.

When I finally boarded the plane, I offered to give up my aisle seat near the front so a family could sit together. I have to admit that I wouldn’t have minded if the flight attendant, right before reviewing the emergency procedures, recounted my good deed to all of the passengers. That would have been a real Joy Maker.

From what I have read about the Apostle Paul, he seemed to enjoy counting too. However, his method of counting doesn’t look anything like mine. Right in the middle of listing the number of times he was beaten with rods and shipwrecked (2 Corinthians 11:25) and right after carefully itemizing an impressive pedigree in Philippians 3 (a Hebrew of Hebrews, a Pharisee, blameless), Paul lost count! Anything that was tallied in the plus column was then counted as loss for the sake of Christ:

7 But whatever things were gain to me, those things I have counted as loss for the sake of Christ. 8More than that, I count all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them but rubbish so that I may gain Christ, …”

(Philippians 3:7-8)

 I will never be able to match numbers with Paul concerning all he did and suffered for the Lord. But I can learn the correct way to count from him. The sum total of all of my gain = total loss for the sake of Christ. To count correctly, I must lose count. In the future I may give up more seats on planes and I may clean many a windshield in the neighborhood–but I’ll never tell! (sv)

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