WHAT'S UP WITH DR. BO
LINES, BOUNDARIES AND A NEW YEAR
This little blue ball we all live on, earth, is quite the remarkable thing. One of the things that makes it so remarkable is its traveling habits. Every 365.25 days our world makes a complete trip around the sun, a trip of roughly 585 million miles.
We humans, for our part, go about most of our days blissfully unmindful of this hurtling through space. But then an interesting thing happens. Right about the 335 day mark or so, people began to pay very close attention, and even to change behaviors based on it. As the month of December nears a close, we begin to look back and take stock of the year. We then begin to look ahead and plan for the new year. As I look back at my records, I see that I have accomplished most of the big goals I had for 2017. I am now eagerly planning what I hope to do in 2018. It is as if there is a dividing line between the two. There is something in place, a barrier, that separates the old from the new.
Nothing has really changed. The sun will (from our perspective) still rise and set the first day of January just like it did the last day of December. So why do we have a structured year laid out, complete with a start date and an end date?
Our compulsion for lines and barriers continues on into almost every aspect of our lives. There are lines down the center of the road telling us which lane we are to drive in. We step on scales to see how much weight we gained over Christmas or lost during our January spurt of fervor to remove that extra weight. Planes land on runways, not in open fields. Our cities have definite, surveyed lines, as does every piece of our own personal properties.
A football field is 100 yards, a touchdown is worth exactly 6 points, a field goal is worth 3, and a safety is worth 2. A marathon is 26.2 miles. A worker’s paycheck is not whatever an employer chooses to give for a week, that worker works a certain number of hours for a certain amount per hour. When one goes to the gas pump, the pump does not dispense “a bit” or “a bunch,” it dispenses gallons or exact divisions of gallons.
Without lines, life has no meaning.
Our Creator is a God of lines, and because of that our lives have meaning. Things are understandable simply because he, in his love, has drawn lines for us.
Genesis 2:8 says, “And the LORD God planted a garden eastward in Eden; and there he put the man whom he had formed.” God planted a garden, a definite spot delineated from all other locations, eastward in Eden, an exact location. He then placed his man, Adam, in that definite location.
A few verses later we read this, Genesis 2:16-17 “And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.” God first set some real estate boundaries, and now we see him setting moral boundaries; this is right; this is wrong.
And then we see this: Genesis 2:21-22 “And the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, and he slept: and he took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh instead thereof; And the rib, which the LORD God had taken from man, made he a woman, and brought her unto the man.
From real estate boundaries, to moral boundaries, and now a marital boundary. Adam, this is Eve, she is your wife. Lines, lines everywhere. My wife is mine, I am hers, no one else can have either of us, nor can either of us have anyone else. Men are men, women are women, parents are in authority over children, immorality of any kind is still wicked.
It is the very lines God lays down for us that give life meaning. A life without those boundary lines will have exactly the same amount of meaning as a football game with no sidelines, end zones, yard markers, referees, or penalties.
Can a person live a vibrant, fulfilling, creative life within the confines of the boundaries God has drawn? Let me answer that question with one of my own; can an orchestra produce a vibrant, fulfilling, creative piece of music within the confines of musical notation? Not only can they do so, anything else is impossible. It is the musical notation that prohibits a discordant mess and produces a lovely, harmonious piece of music.
God didn’t draw lines to stifle us; he drew lines for our pleasure, our benefit, and his glory.
Happy New Year to all.
Dr. Bo Wagner is pastor of the Cornerstone Baptist Church of Mooresboro, NC, a widely traveled evangelist,and the author of several books.
His books are available at wordofhismouth.com
& you can email him