life lines “Round it up”

 By Ian Robinson, Major

The topic of ages came up in a meeting at divisional headquarters when my wife, Isobel, said about me, “Well, Ian’s almost 70!” It took a few seconds to sink in before I blustered, “What do you mean? I’m not even 65!” Isobel always rounds up, especially when it comes to my age.

As children, we were always very precise. “I am 6 and three quarters.” Then we became teenagers and it was, “I am almost 18.” We went through the 20-something and 30-something stage until we hit 40, when we suddenly went back to being 39. I don’t remember being anything in my 50s, and 60 was the new 40. However, I have a feeling that in my 70s and 80s (if Jesus doesn’t come first) I will go back to being very precise—if I can remember my age at all!

As I was putting gas in my car, I was reminded of the opposite of rounding up. The gas station boldly and proudly proclaimed in large figures that I would be paying $3.799 for every gallon I pumped. If I only pumped one gallon, how would I pay the nine-tenths of a cent? I suppose they would round up.

It seems this practice of fractional pricing started 90 years ago when a penny was really worth something, and gas was less than a dime a gallon. It’s supposed to make me feel better than if I were paying $3.80 a gallon, which of course I really am. In 1980 the state of Iowa tried to do away with the fractions but reinstated them in 1984 due to public protest!

What if Christians fractionalized their response to God? “Lord, I’ll give you 99.9 percent of my self.” Or, “Lord, please accept my 9.9 percent tithe.” What if Jesus had said on the cross, “My death will forgive 99 percent of your sins.” Without complete forgiveness of all our sins we would not enter heaven. Or, what if he said, “I will forgive only 99 percent of those who ask”?

Jesus says, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment” (Matt. 22:37, 38 NIV).

A pastor I once listened to said, “All is all and that’s all all means!”

Herbert Howard Booth wrote:


            I bring my all to Jesus; he hath seen

            How my soul desireth to be clean.

             Nothing from his altar I withhold

             When his cross of suffering I behold;

              And the fire descending brings to me Liberty.

              (Salvation Army Song Book 420)


Round it up. Make it 100 percent. Bring your all to the altar and reap the harvest of righteousness that waits for you there.

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