I have been interested in numbers for nearly as long as I can remember. One of my jobs on the farm as I grew up was to gather the eggs each day. These eggs were from 300-500 laying hens that provided the income that our family used for the food items that needed to be purchased to provide meals for a growing family of 6. We always had eggs to add to our meals along with many things we grew in a large garden. The egg money also helped purchase things like shoes, etc. Because the eggs were pretty important, how many were gathered each day was tabulated. It is pretty easy to lose track when you count 1-2-3-4-5-6....300! But when I discovered that I could count by 3's--that came when I learned my multiplication tables--then it became easier! I can still remember learning to count by 5's and 10's and then 2's and even the hard ones like 6's and 7's. To me it wasn't a hard task, but a fun one. So… counting eggs by 3's, because 3 eggs fit easily in my hand, l learned to see the repeated patterns in each group of the multiples of 30. I am sure that many do not understand the fondness I developed for numbers. My love of numbers translated into all the high school math classes I could take. Which led me into a college major in math! But then, there were some things about math that I discovered were not so much fun. To this day, probability and statistical problems are not my thing and even feared.
Doing a bit of research this week, I learned some things I did not know about the number 50! For instance--Fifty is the smallest number that is the sum of two non-zero square numbers in two distinct ways: 50 = 12 + 72 = 52 + 52. It is also the sum of three squares, 50 = 32 + 42 + 52, and the sum of four squares, 50 = 62 + 32 + 22 + 12
It is also a Harshad number. Any number that is divisible by the sum of its digits 50----5+0 = 5; 50 divided by 5 =10; 153----1+5+3=9; 153 divided by 9 = 17 , etc. Though I have yet to figure out why that bit of information has an important meaning.
There are many more things that I have learned about the number 50! The number 50 also symbolizes deliverance or freedom from a burden. God commanded ancient Israel that every 50th year, on the Day of Atonement that a Jubilee was to be declared. The number 50 derives its meaning from its relationship to the coming of God's Holy Spirit. "Fifty" can be found at least 154 times in the Bible.
After Jesus appeared to Mary Magdalene, he ascended to His Father. His ascension, as a type of first fruit from the dead, occurred on the day God told the Israelites they were to wave a sheaf composed of the first fruits of their harvest. It is on this day that the count of 50 days to the Feast of Pentecost begins. In the New Testament, the word Pentecost comes from the Greek word for fiftieth. Jesus, as mankind's new High Priest in heaven, had to first offer the blood of his sacrifice (30 symbolizes this sacrifice) to God upon the heavenly atonement altar (which 20 represents) before the Holy Spirit could be available to all. This all adds up to 50, which points directly to the Feast of Pentecost.
Some numbers are more interesting than others. Some have patterns within each number, some join others to form patterns. Some are whole, some are prime, some have factors----I could go on and on--more than most want to even think about. But just one number has my attention recently. You might say I have been waiting 50 years to pay attention to the number 50! Well, that is not quite true. I early remember pictures of my Bonjour Grandparents being the stars of a family golden celebration. Later, that was followed by my mother planning a celebration party for her Pelton parents and their special 50 recognition. Even later, we were invited to travel to Colorado for another Golden party for Garry's parents and that was followed by my own planning a special gift for another 50th celebration. We all, kids and grandkids and in-law kids, had a part in constructing a shadow box gift that illustrated the life history of our parents and family. I do not think that we could have provided a more perfect gift for them, and it showed them how much we loved having them as parents and mentors. All of those celebrations were about the number 50! The Golden 50!
Now, why do I especially like that number--50! ? Fifty years ago, one day after my mother's birthday, Garry and I began a journey together as husband and wife. I am positive that neither of us were thinking about 50 years in the future 50 years ago on May 28. I knew that my dreams were coming true, that I was marrying a theology student, and that I was promising to follow where God would lead him/us. We were led to more schooling in Michigan and our first baby boy. Then it was on to New Mexico, then to Colorado and 2 different houses. Then we moved to Fayette, Iowa, and then to Des Moines and then to the Iowa Great Lakes area and baby number 2. The next move brought us back to Fayette and 2 more homes and 2 more baby boys. We were now a family of 6 and learning to live and love as only families can. God has blessed us greatly. That we have arrived at fifty years together is due to God, more than luck, with His help in love, and giving us the knowing that when we stumble, He will show us where to fall, and how to get up again. It has been said--An anniversary is not divided into mere hours of a day but measured in each moment when two never stop being one. Living together for fifty years often comes with rough patches, but also lots of beautiful memories.
Today we celebrate our 50th anniversary and will again, in June, by spending a few days with our family in Nebraska – the same area where we dated and learned to love five decades ago. Now our family has expanded to include 4 sons and 4 daughters-in-law. Psalms 127:3-5 says that children are rewards from God. And Psalms 128 indicates that we may see our children grow up and give grandkids. Today we have six grandkids’ ages 13 to newborn. We couldn’t think of a better way to celebrate than with all of them!
Our anniversary reminds me that when we married, there were just the two of us, but now look at our family -- children and grandchildren that we love and cherish. What we created together is worth more than anything in this world. Our love for each other and for our family gets stronger each day. According to studies by the Census Bureau, only about 5-6% or less of couples make it to their 50th Anniversary which is so sad. The national average is about 8 years and only 1% make it to their 60th anniversary. We are headed to that 60th, beginning Sunday morning! We look forward to even more blessings from God as we continue serving him.