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Signposts: Daily Devotions

Wednesday, October 21

Listen! A sower went out to sow. And as he sowed, some seed fell on the path, and birds came and ate it up. Other seed fell on rocky ground, where it did not have much soil, and it sprang up quickly, since it had no depth of soil. And when the sun rose, it was scorched; and since it had no root, it withered away. Other seed fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked it, and it yielded no grain. Other seed feel into good soil and brought forth grain, growing up and increasing and yielding thirty and sixty and a hundred-fold.
—Mark 4:3-8

We know a lot about what natural systems need. We know the consequences of trying to cheat Mother Nature. You can smoke, eat a lot of fatty junk food, get no exercise, live with lots of anxiety and anger, get little rest, and drink too much for quite a while. Decades, in fact. Long enough for such patterns to become habits. But nature will express itself eventually with some form of disease or ill health.

At a medical conference in Washington I attended with my wife, the speaker told us that everyone knows the fundamental keys to good health:

  • Eat five servings of fruits and/or vegetables daily in a low-fat diet,
  • Avoid tobacco,
  • Exercise 30 minutes 5 times a week,
  • Get at least 8 hours of sleep.

The surprise, he said, was that only 3 percent of Americans do all of those things (only 1/2 of 1 percent of men do so).

There's a simple 5-point rule of life that I like to promote in my congregation—worship weekly, pray daily, learn constantly, serve joyfully, live generously. Those five things make up the good soil, sun and water for the growth of the spirit.

Inspire us, O God, to be faithful stewards of our life—our body, mind and soul—that we may nurture the gifts you have given us and faithfully serve for the good of your creation.

These Signposts were originally published on in 2005.