Monday Morning Devotion-November 14, 2022
By faith Noah, when warned about things not yet seen, in holy fear built an ark to save his family. Hebrews 11:7
* Thoughts from a few years back that still are worth thinking about.
In his book "All In" Mark Batterson tells this story: In 1948 a man by the name of Korczak Ziolkowski (there's a name for you, not sure I could even pronounce it) was commissioned by Lakota Chief Henry Standing Bear to design a mountain carving that would honor the famous war leader the late Crazy Horse.
Seems simple enough on the surface but here's the deal. What makes it crazy, other than the subject's name, was that Crazy Horse never allowed himself to be photographed. So, wonder how he would feel about a 563-foot-high statue of himself carved in the granite face of the Black Hills?
To put the size of this carving in perspective consider that it is "eight feet taller than the Washington Monument and nine-times larger than the faces on Mount Rushmore." Unfortunately, Korczak died in 1982 but the Ziolkowski family has carried on their father's vision and continued carving. Get this. Their projected date of completion is 2050. That would be just shy of 100 years. Now that's crazy.
Hard to imagine. But here's some more craziness for you. This Crazy Horse project will fall twenty years short of how long it took Noah to build the ark. Batterson says the ark should have been named: "Holy Crazy." Noah's ark ranks as one of history's longest building projects.
What took him so long to build that ark? Well, it was a really big boat.
How big? Here's what Batterson says: "The ark measured 300 cubits in length, 50 cubits in width, and 30 cubits in height."
What does that mean in our mathematics today? "That means the ark was the length of one and a half football fields. Not until the nineteenth century did a ship that size get constructed again, yet the 30:5:3 ratio is still considered the golden mean for stability during the storms at sea."
"The internal volume of the ark was 1,518,750-cubit feet---the equivalent of 569 boxcars. If the average animal was the size of a sheep, it had the capacity for 125,000 animals. To put that into perspective, there are 2,000 animals from 400 different species at the National Zoo in Washington, DC. That means you could fit 60 National Zoos on board Noah's ark." That's crazy big!
It actually took a rare combination of brains and brawn to build that ark. As Batterson points out it was the first boat ever built and it is not like it came with a construction manual.
And who builds a boat in the desert, anyway?
According to Jewish tradition, Noah didn't just start building the ark. "He planted trees first. After they were fully grown, he cut down the trees, sawed them into planks and built the boat"
That's crazy but it is going all out for God. It's not a sprint. It's a marathon.
What is God asking you to do? Is there something he is leading you to undertake, and you are thinking, "Hey, that's crazy."
Noah could have been thinking the same thing. After all it hadn't rained around there in a long, long time. He was getting ridiculed by friends and neighbors, but he kept on working. Noah kept the faith.
Korczak Ziolkowski said, "When your life is over, the world will ask only one question: "Did you do what you were supposed to do?" That's the question! It can't be answered with words. It has to be answered with your life.
Mark Batterson gives his own personal example. He says that he knows God was calling him to write books. Here's the crazy part. He actually scored below average on an aptitude exam for writing when he was in graduate school. Still, he knew he was called to write.
In thirteen years Batterson was a frustrated writer. He couldn't complete a single manuscript. He says: "I grew to despise my birthday because it felt like an annual reminder of an unfulfilled dream." Currently Mark Batterson is the author of seventeen best-selling books.
As I may have shared before, when I was a freshman in college my speech professor as much as told me to drop the idea of broadcasting sports on the radio or public speaking as a whole.
Years later when I was sitting in the press box at Rosenblatt Stadium in Omaha Nebraska, broadcasting a College World Series game on radio, I thought about that bit of scholarly advice.
I went on to broadcast 700+ baseball games on radio, work as a sportscaster on television and broadcast several key football games on TV, as well as several golf tournaments. That's crazy for a guy who was told to give it up.
I like what Batterson says: "No matter what tool you use in your trade---a hammer, a keyboard, a mop, a football, a spreadsheet, a microphone, or an espresso machine---using it is an act of obedience. It's the mechanism whereby you worship God. It's the way you do what you are supposed to do.
Love the way Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. put it: "If it falls your lot to be a street sweeper, sweep streets like Michelangelo painted pictures, like Shakespeare wrote poetry, like Beethoven composed music; sweep streets so well that all the host of heaven and earth will have to pause and say, "Here lived a great street sweeper, who swept his job well." Crazy? I don't think so.
What about you? What is God calling you to do that your first thoughts were? "Hey that's crazy."
Do it in faith and see what God can do. That's not crazy at all.
Prayer: Lord what seems like craziness to us may just be the thing that honors you most. Help us to understand what is crazy and what is holy crazy. Amen!