Zero Regrets

Posted by Andrew Groves | Posted in | Posted on Monday, July 30, 2007

It hit me as I stared at my bottle of Mountain Dew. The number... zero. Technically, it's not really a number because it doesn't represent an actual value. It signifies nothing really. But not the nothing you're thinking of right now. Confused yet? You see, you're imagining nothing as an empty room or a guy with holes in his pockets. But zero is much more than that... or actually much less. An empty room is still a room, and it follows all the laws of science like gravity and all those other ones I've forgotten since high school. The same is true for the pockets. So, those examples can't quite clarify the concept of zero because something with the quantity zero is really nothing at all to begin with.

But despite all my attempts to belittle zero, it continues to hold tremendous power to stymie change. Let me explain. Now, not all of us are math wizards, but most of us (I hope) can perform a few simple operations of arithmetic. Addition for example. If you add zero to the number four, you're left with... four! Big surprise... but it goes to show that zero didn't help the number four change at all. The same goes for subtraction: four minus zero equals four again. But let's get a little more tricky. What about multiplication? Well, if you multiply four by zero, you've lost it all! And dividing four by zero arrives at the same answer. The addition and subtraction of zero accomplished nothing, and multiplication and division actually reduced our initial number. When you put zero into something, nothing changes, and most often, things get worse.

By now, you've either stopped reading or you're on the brink because of my ramblings. Do I even have a point? Yes, I do. Last night, several hundred students from my church's youth group held a worship service to celebrate and remember their fond memories from this year's summer camp. As I absorbed the atmosphere around me, I began to realize that this room I was sitting in was brimming over with joy. Not just happiness... joy. Godly joy. What Scripture calls "the joy of the LORD." These students had been touched by the hands of God, molded into more mature, effective servant leaders, and directed to the center of His will. It's like nothing I've ever witnessed before. I'm probably not even doing it justice because of my poor writing skills, but I could sense that each and every one of these kids had grown in their faith to some degree. As the youth choir sang a multilingual worship song, I felt a void in my heart that I have been ignoring for some time now. I've made my life too busy for joy. I've invested in nourishing my mind instead of my soul. I've blocked out the Creator of the universe from leading me, and it's taken its toll.

When you put zero into something, nothing changes, and most often, things get worse. In God's kingdom, the simplest of faiths can trump the soundest of minds. I've given God nothing for so long, justifying my behavior by convincing myself that I'll get to my faith... later. If you're reading this, maybe you're right here with me, or you've been here before. It's about time we all stopped serving two masters, or serving the wrong one entirely. Looking back, I view this period in my life with genuine heartache. I only wish I could go back and change it all, but that's just not possible. And that's just not what God wants. It's been painful, but God has taught me through my desertion of Him. And I pass this along to you: If we are able to keep our eyes upon Jesus, the "author and perfecter of our faith," we can live our lives in the center of his will with zero regrets.

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