Those who know me will attest to my lack of skill where numbers are concerned, even to the extent of not being able to recall my own children’s age and year of birth and often having to work out my own age! But this year and month is different, for I have a significant birthday, so it’s easy to remember…and difficult to forget! It’s got me thinking on the theme of significant numbers…

Living by numbers

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Our lives are often measured by numbers. As children we count the days until we are older; as adults we wish we were younger. Time inexorably passes. Sixty seconds per minute, sixty minutes to the hour, twenty-four hours in a day, seven days each week, twelve months every year. Time ticks…

Yet time is a gift, enough for each day if only we could live each moment the best we can, trusting that the accumulated small moments of living well, will equate to a life lived well. We often think we have plenty of time, deferring our dreams in favour of mediocre living yet none of us knows how many days we each have. As people of faith, we believe that our lives are in the hands of the Lord.

“My times are in your hand.” Psalm 31:15

So, in the light of this, perhaps all we can do is to live each moment the best we can, creating space for everyday rejoicing, making time to love, and be loved, whilst contributing to our community, trusting that the small moments of living well, will equate to a life lived well- however many days we each have.

Digital Numbers

Our lives are recorded digitally by significant numbers; our identity illuminated in integers and documented by digits. Whether it’s our NHS number, our social security number, bank details, phone number, postcode or house number, our passport, number plate, driving licence or travel pass, each integer adds extra detail to who others think we are.

No matter who knows all my digital documentation, they cannot know me as God does.

“Yahweh, you have searched me,

    and you know me.

You know my sitting down and my rising up.

    You perceive my thoughts from afar.

You search out my path and my lying down,

    and are acquainted with all my ways.

For there is not a word on my tongue,

    but behold, Yahweh, you know it altogether.” Psalm 139:1-4

Weights and Measures

IMG 2906 2MPWe are surrounded by dimensions, for numbers provide scale to our understanding of the world. From measuring the smallest of atoms to the speed of light, and the number of stars in space (at least 200 billion trillion if you are interested!) scientific discoveries attest to magnificent numbers, beyond our comprehension, and numbers like the Fibonacci series and The Golden Ratio provide order, form, and pattern to the natural world.
Yet God knows and understands for He is the instigator and Creator of Calculation. Indeed, over the last few years our world has finally come to recognise how finely balanced our global system is, and how easily altered when we abuse and misuse earth’s natural gifts.

“Who has measured the waters in the hollow of his hand,

and marked off the sky with his span,

and calculated the dust of the earth in a measuring basket,

and weighed the mountains in scales,

and the hills in a balance?

Who has directed Yahweh’s Spirit,

or has taught him as his counsellor?” Isaiah 40:12-13 (WEB)

Quantified by Equations

Besieged by numbers, we can all too easily wonder if we measure up in our globally connected and perfectionist orientated media. Organisations, who do not see the whole of our lives, who measure only a small part of what we amount to, quantifying our suitability in a variety of ways that cannot hope to express all we equate to as a human being, miss out on appreciating the whole of who we are. Sadly, all too often, it is the material things that are measured, rather than the inner things that make up the essence of our humanity. No amount of paperwork that counts, calculates, and evaluates our supposed worth in the world’s eyes can possibly express our immeasurable, individual value, as people of God created and loved unconditionally.

“He told them this parable. ‘Which of you men, if you had one hundred sheep, and lost one of them, wouldn’t leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness, and go after the one that was lost, until he found it?  When he has found it, he carries it on his shoulders, rejoicing. When he comes home, he calls together his friends and his neighbours, saying to them, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep which was lost!’” Luke 15:3-5

No matter how lost we are, how damaged, God goes out of his way to both seek us out, rescue us, and bring us home to himself.

Numerical Conclusions

So, I am content to appreciate the complexity and pattern of numbers that pervade my life, without needing to understand them. Instead, I will aspire to a simpler way, living my life lifted to an audience of One:

   - Living a life of grateful thanks to The One God

   - Caring for and contributing to our One World

   - Living fully and joyfully this gift of One Life

   - Celebrating and making the most of One Moment at a time

Concentrating on the power of One is a simpler way of living…

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