History of Leap Year:

“Nearly every four years, we add an extra day to the calendar in the form of February 29, also know as Leap Day. Put simply, these additional 24 hours are built into the calendar to ensure that it stays in line with the Earth’s movement around the sun. While the modern calendar contains 365 days, the actual time it takes for the Earth to orbit its star is slightly longer-roughly 365.2421 days. The difference might seem negligible, but over decades and centuries that missing quarter of a day per year can add up. To ensure consistency with the true astronomical year, it is necessary to periodically add in an extra day to make up the lost time and get the calendar back in synch with the heavens.”

In 2016, I hope that your focus will be on getting your own life back in synch with the heavens. Just like the calendar of our day, without intentional adjustments, our lives tend to gradually drift further and further from God’s will. The shift is subtle, but over time, if you do not recalculate, you can end up far off course.

If you look at the very first book of the Bible, Genesis 1:1 tells us that “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.” In Revelation, the very last book of the Bible, Scripture tells us that God will create a NEW heaven and a NEW earth, but until that time, we will be prone to spiritual drift.

How does this spiritual drift take place?

I once heard a story of a foolish old farmer that applies to this concept.

The old farmer concluded one day that the oats he had fed his mule for years were simply costing him too much. So he hatched a plan: He mixed a little sawdust in with the feed, and then a little more the next day, and even more the next, each time reducing the amount of oats in the mix.

The mule didn’t seem to notice the gradual change, so the farmer thought things were fine and kept decreasing the proportion of oats. But weeks later, on the day he finally fed the poor beast nothing but sawdust, the mule finished the meal… and fell over dead.

That may seem to be a silly tale, but it is befitting of one who slips slowly away from God.

So what is the sawdust in your life?

* The loss of appetite for God’s Word

* The loss of desire for godly living

*   The loss of hunger for pleasing God.

* The loss of craving godly friendships and relationships

Heb 10: 23-25 says, “Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. 24 And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, 25 not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.”

The word ‘spur’ in this context relates to the idea of recalculating our lives. As we reset our agenda calendars this leap year, let’s also recalculate our lives toward pleasing God. On this day that helps us leap back in step with the physical calendar, contemplate how you can jump back in step with God’s desire for your life, and who knows… 2016 could be your spiritual leap year.

John Mark Caton, Ph.D