My pound puppy, Toby, shows wisdom beyond his years.
Since his Valentine’s Day birth two years ago, he has taught me the power of the “Little Bit More.” The LBM is the repetitive effort it takes to make a huge change in your life over a long period of time.
His discovery of the LBM started with his desire to explore the outdoors. With each venture outside, he pulled us to go just a “Little Bit More.”
Our first walks brought us into a nearby park. Then as weeks passed, we made the extra distance to a dog park, where he met a cute Jack Russell named Mia.
Eventually, our walks morphed into slow jogs together. As Toby grew, my 37-inch waist shrunk, as did our round-trip time to the park. Four months later, I made my best time on my Air Force 1.5-mile fitness test of 13:30, a two-minute improvement.
I have a smart dog, but even Toby has limits. While playtime exhausted him, I’d often be looking for more running time. So I’d leave him with a bowl of water and run another mile or two.
By this time last year, I was stretching my running routine into a weekly six-mile run and shaved another inch off my waist. Finally on March 15, I got cocky after an eight-mile run and signed up for a half-marathon.
Toby just stared at me from his empty food dish and allowed my wife to speak for him: “Are you crazy?”
When friends and family asked me if I thought I could really run that many miles, I admitted, “I don’t know.” But I’d quickly add, “I only know that last week, I ran three miles and this week I’m doing a ‘little bit more.’ ”
As each month passed, I ran past six miles, then went past seven miles, then 10 miles.
Even as I surpassed my 13-mile record on April 30, my friends kept scratching their heads as I began training for a Dec. 2 marathon.
When I finished the marathon, I thought more about the lesson Toby taught me. What could be possible if a person was willing to do just a little bit more than the day before? And a little bit more after that? Maybe “impossible” is just an arbitrary word.
What kind of changes might we see if we added one more minute of prayer to our daily meditation?
Or what might happen if we added another $5 to our monthly charity contributions and then another $5 each month after that?
What would it be like if we learned the name of one passer-by? Get acquainted with one more co-worker or one more churchgoer? Then after that, another.
You see where I’m going here? There’s power in Toby’s LBM formula.
Of course, Jesus characterized the little bit formula long before Toby did, but Jesus called it faith. He compared the little bit idea to the mustard seed when he said that the seed is “the smallest of all seeds, yet when it grows, it is the largest of garden plants.”
This week, I challenge you to exercise your faith and add just one more good thing in your life. If you do, your good works will grow into something very big.
As far as marathons go, I registered for the Air Force marathon in Dayton next fall. I’ve promised my wife that it’ll be “just this one more.”
LifeWorks of Charleston will host Norris Burkes to speak at 7:15 a.m. Feb. 28 at East Cooper Baptist Church. More details to follow.
Norris Burkes is a syndicated columnist, national speaker and author of No Small Miracles. He is a board-certified in the Association of Professional Chaplains. You may leave recorded comments at 608-9715 or email them to email@example.com, or send comments to P.O. Box 247, Elk Grove, CA 95759. Visit thechaplain.net.