His future career may involve risk assessment for an insurance company.

Yes, he’s a first born (who according to birth order books tend to approach life with caution and care). But this guy could barely watch the Winter Olympics. He sat shocked by the athletes disregard for the dangerous situations they placed themselves (“Mom, they could die doing that!” . . . while my middle boys shouted “PLEASE let me try snowboarding tricks. I promise I won’t die!”).

So I wasn’t surprised when he came home from school the other day excited to share a bit of information on how to extend his life.

“Mom, in P.E. today we learned that by stretching you can add 3 years to your life! 3 years! And I’m already adding lots of years because of all the vegetables I eat and how I don’t like Sprite. . .”

Of course, I encouraged his excitement over healthy habits. But I also felt the need to let him know we can live our best lives, but ultimately God decides the number of days we are on this earth. (truth-telling, Debbie Downer came out. . .)

Fast forward a few days when I decided to have little tea party with the boys. What would make our time even more special? My fancy china sugar bowl and creamer set (that I hadn’t used for 15 yeasr)! Then I reminded the boys 30,000 times to be extra careful because fragile ( more about the humility of these directions later). 

We sat down and read our next family way. . .

“We honor and obey our parents in the Lord with a respectful attitude.”

After chatting about how the boys would honor a superhero and ideas of specific ways they could obey their parents during the day, I had my oldest son read Ephesians 6:1-3. . .

“Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. ‘Honor your father and mother’—which is the first commandment with a promise—so that it may go well with you and that you may enjoy long life on the earth.”

He looked up from the Bible and locked eyes with me. “Enjoy long life. . . kind of like how stretching gives you three more years of life.”

And with his connection I see these familiar words differently.

obey. honor. commandment with a promise. go well with you. enjoy long life.

Because yes God numbers our days, but He also always keeps His promises. And it makes logically sense that obedience leads to life . . .

My mind flashed back to the time a few weeks earlier, to the afternoon rush of homework and then a soccer game. And how I offered to bring snacks & drinks. Of course, I decided, given the cooler temps, hot chocolate would be “fun” to bring (and mini marshmallows. . . goes without saying).

Yes, hot chocolate with mini marshmallows is fun. Until you completely run a red light b/c you are trying to keep the carafe from spilling in the passenger’s seat.

Or when you are so busy filling foam cups with chocolately goodness, you don’t realize your 4 year old has fallen in. a. pond. for real. (thank you mom-I-never-got-to-thank for seeing him and pulling him out of that murky water. thank you Katherine for seeing the commotion, running across the soccer field and helping direct my son back to me.)

Right before getting out of the car for the soccer game I gave one clear direction: “Do NOT go near the water. Do not walk along the wall. Do not bend over to grab anything. You. could. fall. in.”

I see how Ephesians. . . “obey your parents… it will go well with you… enjoy long life.” plays out with the falling-in-the-pond story.

His obedience would have kept him from the water. He wouldn’t have had to walk the two blocks back to the car soaking wet in the cold. Or had itchy skin the next day from who-knows-what-pond-scum-bacteria.

Then there is my obedience. . .

Maybe, just maybe, I made the hot chocolate to impress the other moms, to gain their approval. Kneeling down in front of my “love idol” and disobeying God’s command to have no other gods before Him.

“For it is not those who hear the law who are righteous in God’s sight but it is those who obey the law who will be declared righteous.” Romans 2:13

And yes obedience comes with a promise. . . longer life. But beyond that goal obedience leads to righteousness. . . “right relationship with God.”

And that’s sounds like pretty good motivation to me. #livebyfaith

Are you motivated to change health habits for a longer life? Do you struggle to obey God? What would motivate you?

and the china sugar bowl? Well, after our lil tea, with two hands I carried it into the kitchen. But with the lights out I didn’t notice the inch of water covering the hardwood floors and slipped. Then fell forward, catching myself on the counter but fumbling the sugar bowl and breaking the lid. Oi-vey. Fortunately, kragel  krazy glue came to my rescue. And that water on the floor? Oh just overflow from our non-draining, broken dishwasher. Reminding me that I’d be okay with living fewer days on this broken planet (wah wah…Debbie Downer’s back again).