For cycling, I wear padded, spandex biking shorts. Yes, I do. I readily admit this conjures up a somewhat unpleasant and even humorous mental image for a lady with salt-and-pepper hair (emphasis on the salt), but there it is. Now, my husband, who also wears the padded shorts while cycling (and cuts a much better figure in them than I do, just sayin’) has two very practical rules for wearing spandex. I share them here:
Bob’s two rules for wearing spandex—
Rule #1 To wear spandex, you must have the right body type, and….
Rule #2 ….nobody has the right body type.
No matter, I wear it anyway because otherwise I’m in pain. It’s affectionately referred to as “saddle soreness”, which I get even with the padding if I haven’t been diligently riding my bike enough. It’s that infamous truism, if you don’t use it, you lose it.
Of course, that’s a phrase that’s been around a long time and applies to more important issues then my derrière on a hard little cycle-saddle. For example, my algebra skills are markedly decayed, but I’m pretty doggone good at making (and eating) homemade pizza. Evidently, skills aren’t the only things that give way to neglect.
Case in point would be the disciples asking Jesus why all the talk in parables? Here is part of His very sobering reply—
“To those who listen to my teaching, more understanding will be given, and they will have an abundance of knowledge. But for those who are not listening, even what little understanding they have will be taken away from them.”
Listening implies much more than sound waves banging on the eardrum and moving those three little bones in the ear. That’s hearing. Listening is contemplation, investigation and application. Listening involves time and effort, and probably some practical strategies put in place that help me to pay attention (like taking notes during the sermon to keep my mind on task and giving me something to pray over later). Listening is loving the Lord my God with all of my mind, engaging the gray matter, whatever it takes (I’m not above a little caffeine, should I be sorry?)
I see Jesus’ statement as a two-fold promise. First, when I discipline myself to “listen” to Him, I will be blessed with an increase in understanding and knowledge. Secondly, and not so happily, the converse is also true. We’re either moving forward or backward, gaining or losing ground; there’s no standing still when it comes to such important heart matters as listening to Him.
The good news (and with Jesus, there’s always good news to be had) is that, like a bike, if you fall off, you can get back on. It may take a while to get your “seat” back, but you’re never alone in the process.
(In this case, spandex is, of course, optional.)
Matthew 13:12 Tyndale House Publishers Inc (2008-06-01). The One Year Bible NLT (One Year Bible: Nlt Book 2) (Kindle Locations 2495-2497). Tyndale House Publishers. Kindle Edition.