Giving new meaning to a number

by | November 9, 2017 8:35 am

Playl’s Ponderings – By Steve Playl

Does “three twenty” mean anything to you?

Perhaps the Area Code for St. Cloud, Minnesota, comes to mind – probably not. There was a time when I might have thought of my goal for weight lifting – bench press 320 pounds. Nope! That was long ago in a galaxy far, far away.

Average weight of an offensive lineman for the Washington Redskins? Or the University of Wisconsin? Or ‘Bama? Pretty close, but not precisely, and you probably didn’t think of that anyway. Did you? Neither did I.

A few weeks ago, Sammie and I visited a church in Ohio, Grace Mennonite Church, where three twenty (320) was given new meaning for me. Our spirits were lifted that morning. The music and the message were exciting and inspirational. We received a warm welcome and were made to feel right at home. We learned much about that church’s vision for missions and outreach. Hundreds of believers joined together to worship. Actually, more than 325 were in attendance. As a matter of fact, the recorded attendance, listed in the bulletin, from the previous Sunday was more than double that number.

So…what is the significance of “three twenty?”

That Sunday morning, the sermon was taken from the first few verses of John’s Gospel, Chapter 15. The preacher talked about “Being Connected to Jesus.” But before he got into the text, the speaker referred to another verse of scripture: Ephesians 3:20.

There it is, ”three twenty!” The verse states, “Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us…” (NIV)

On the cover of the bulletin, in very bold print, were the   numerals 3 2 0. Underneath, in a much smaller font, were the words “immeasurably more.” A challenge was issued by the pastor that morning. He suggested that every day, at 3:20 PM (AM for anyone who happened to be awake in the middle of the night or up to milk the cows or whatever) that every member of the congregation pause from their normal routine and seek God in prayer. He appealed to everyone there to pray for their church, community, nation, and world. Ask God to bless mission work everywhere and to increase the spread of the Gospel, remembering that He “…is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine…”

The idea is so simple it is profound. That morning I felt a tug at my heart, so I set my phone to notify me every day at 3:20. When the signal sounds on my phone, I am reminded to seek God. If I can stop what I’m doing, I will pray immediately and direct my thoughts toward God. Even if I can’t interrupt my routine at the moment, I am reminded of God’s love and grace. Then, as soon as possible, I will give more time to pray for myself, my family, and others.

Would you be willing to accept a simple entreaty to set aside a specific time, every day, to seek God in prayer? If there is a better time, for you, than 3:20, just pick a time and stick to it.   When you get the reminder, turn your thoughts toward God. Pray for yourself, your family and friends, community, the church, our leaders, and our world. Surely, if enough of us would do this, it would make a difference in our world.

Now, what does “three twenty” mean to you?

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