Wouldn’t it be nice if I was talking about losing weight – but that’s not the case tonight! Here is the story…
Last weekend was a pretty busy one. Our youngest grandson, Drew, and I decided that it was time for us to fire up our smoker and do a “Big Cook.” In all honesty, we have been speaking about it since before Thanksgiving but there were so many other things to do that we just didn’t get around to it. Thanksgiving, decorating for Christmas, the holidays themselves and finally the removal of the decorations all got in the way of our planned time together to smoke some meat.
So, last Friday, I was able to talk to the local grocery store manager and he figured out a way to get meat for this past Sunday evening. Janet and I ended up purchasing eight pork butts – a full case – that weighed in at 75#. That’s right – 75#. The idea was to make pulled pork and this is by far the largest cook we have ever done in all the years that we have been smoking meats.
Let’s face it – it was fun, thinking about the time together and pulling an all-nighter to make it happen. In all honesty, I haven’t done that since back in my seminary days 20 years ago. And let me tell you, now that I’ve been through it, it’s more difficult to do now than it was then. To cut to the chase, Drew and I did the prep and started cooking at 8:30 p.m. Sunday evening. We anticipated a sixteen hour cook, at least, and we were pretty much right on.
However, it was more difficult than we had anticipated. Drew finally “hit the wall” around 5:30 a.m. and slept for about 4 hours. I wasn’t so fortunate. I didn’t really sleep until Monday night – almost at midnight, 40 hours after I arose on Sunday morning.
When the pork was finished and all put together, we ended up with more than 40# of pulled pork. Of course, our family members were circling like vultures to get their portions and it ended up that each of three children took ten pounds home for their respective families. Of course, Janet and I kept a portion for ourselves.
I started thinking about the biblical significance of the number “40”. There are many people who assign great weight to that specific number in the Bible as it seems to indicate a time of completion. After all, the Flood came for 40 days and 40 nights. Moses wandered with his people for 40 years in the desert, after 40 years in Midian and another 40 years living in the house of Pharoah during his youth in Egypt. He finally died at the age of 120 years – after three full 40 year seasons in his life.
David and Solomon, two of the greatest kings of Israel, each ruled for 40 years – thought to be a fully complete reign. Even Jesus, tempted by Satan in the New Testament, was fasting in the wilderness for 40 days. The story of Jonah and the town of Ninevah unfolded during 40 days. Moses was on the sacred Mount Horeb for 40 days getting the Ten Commandments. And, there were 40 days between the resurrection of Jesus and His ascension to the Father. So you can see that there are many examples of “40” seeming to indicate a time of completion.
However, nowhere does the Bible assign specific importance to the number “40”. For generations, theologians have tried to make sense of the number, but it is vital to realize that numerology is a man-made construct – not something divine although the word “forty” appears 84 times in the NIV version of the Bible. It is noteworthy, however, that our 40 hour event resulted in 40# of pulled pork. I’m glad that it didn’t last longer – I really want to believe that in this instance, “40” represented a time of completion – praise God!
The memories that we shared will remain with Drew for the rest of his life. And that is important. Our verse for tonight comes from the Old Testament, in the book of Proverbs. In one of the most recognizable verses from the Bible, we are told in Proverbs 22:6, “Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.”
This is so particularly important in this day and age. Kids and grandchildren just don’t have the opportunity to be close to their parents and grandparents by learning and doing these shared experiences together. Our family is committed to making sure that we continue to provide these types of memories for our younger generation. It will serve them well in the future as they age.
My encouragement this evening it that it is critically important to always set a good example for our younger folks. My prayer is that we will create wonderful memories that will be recalled time and time again throughout their lives – and then eventually passed down to unborn future generations. Have a great day in the Lord, grace and peace…