Take a Deep Breath:
[Click for Audio] We’ve heard the doctors say this to us, “Take a Deep Breath. Hold. Exhale.” Just a few weeks ago my doctor was saying this to me as he used his stethoscope to listen to my heart and lungs, and told me, “Good lungs. Full of air. Strong heart beat. Good heart beat.” Probably, it meant more to him than it did to me. At the time.
Then, last week I tweaked my back while changing out implements on my tractor, and my back has been sensitive. Not incapable. Just tender. And when I breath a deep breath, there’s a creak across my back somewhere around the bottom of my lungs. My lungs fill with air, but there would be no way to hold the breath, even a single breath, without a struggle.
I simply hurt.
Through the years I’ve been fortunate to have pretty good health. Typical ailments of exertion, along side a dip into the pneumonia pool last year, but things are going pretty good. Eyes only need two shades of reading glasses – one for close reading, and the other one for even closer reading. Ears do not hear as well, but in many cases, that’s quite okay!
Still. I want to improve my health instead of letting it steadily deteriorate as it will do. As we all will do. So, I reach the age where the doctor becomes a more regular occurrence due to need rather than want, but not that I go every year, or anything like that. I have a good family doctor and I enjoy visiting with him, and he’s there to help look over my stats, analyze and diagnose, dispense advice and directives, and follow my progress.
Essentially, he’s there to guide me to better health. If I am smart I will accept his guidance and start adjusting my life around his answer, and probably the same answer he gives out hundreds of times per month.
- Control your weight by controlling your caloric intake.
- Get a good nights sleep.
Sounds typical, right? Then, you probably realize we should seek advice for multiple areas of our life, and I know I touched this previously, but what’s wrong with seeking advice from tax professionals, investment strategists, career counselor’s, or even spiritual advisers. We should find a professional we can trust, ask and listen to their advice, but we all know that we will make our own choices about direction.
Essentially, you are responsible and accountable for your own choices.
You will enjoy the consequences of your choice.
It’s like a man who ran to Jesus, knelt before him, and asked an important question: “Good Master, what good thing shall I do that I may have eternal life?” (Matthew 19:16, KJV) To some of us, this is not a valid question. We know the scriptures. We follow the tenants of our faith. We believe in what we are doing, and the direction we are going. So it’s a “no brainer”… Right?
But there was something to this man’s question that knocks at the heart of Jesus, begging an answer that was specific him. Analyze his question for a moment, however, and you will find he’s obviously asking what “token” can he give with his possessions that will insure him success in his quest for eternal life. He asks, “…what good thing…” Singular. Let me do it and move on. Bless me with an answer that I can address and then go live my life. What good thing. Please. Tell me.
Jesus responds with, “Keep the commandments”, and these were very well known by most of Israel. There are essentially 10 of them. Laws, if you would, that helped you to be a consecrated follower.
The first four of these commandments define our relationship with God, and the next six define our relationship with man. What was the man’s response to this great doctoral advice? “All these things I have kept from my youth… What do I still lack?”
In other words,
I’ve done everything I’m supposed to do
From the youngest of my days till now.
Surely, there’s still one token thing that remains
That will assure me of my eternal reward.
Okay, buddy… You asked for it! Jesus, tell him!
“If you want to give it all you’ve got,” Jesus replied, “go sell your possessions; give everything to the poor. All your wealth will then be in heaven. Then come follow me.” (Matthew 19:21, MSG)
As we complete the story, it is revealed to us that he is a young man, and he is undoubtedly rich, or at least blessed with great possessions (Matthew 19:22, NKJV). His whole life is before him. Surely, there’s a better way… Some token think I can do now that will take care of me the rest of my life….
Here’s my thought: Advice asked for, advice received, does not mean advice followed. Even had his intentions been right and honorable, unless he had followed through there will be no success. You must follow through with effort to equal the advice given, received and agreed to.
“Plans are only good intentions unless they immediately degenerate into hard work.” ~Peter Drucker [Source]
It takes hard work to follow advice. Life is not easy, nor is the road to success paved with gold bricks and easy choices. There is risk involved with everything we plan. But not accepting the risk is like saying, “I’m comfortable where I’m at…”