Cross Words: My Fitbit taught me a lesson

By Isaiah Pauley

Jogging is one of my favorite pastimes. Headphones on ears. Music higher than it should be. And something to track my mileage. Now, like most things, there’s an app for that. Samsung Health is my go-to.

But it’s difficult to use an app for the amount of distance I run. Anywhere between three to seven miles. And since I’m on the road for at least thirty minutes at a time, it’s inconvenient. Why? Because I’m unlocking my phone to view my current pace, distance, and time while simultaneously running.

Until last Monday. That’s when I turned on my Fitbit Surge for the first time in over a year.

The Fitbit Surge is a $200 “fitness super watch.” It features a GPS, heart rate monitor, and other running configurations. It’s the most popular GPS watch in America. While running with this watch, my phone stays off. Why? Because my Fitbit does everything I need and displays it nicely the entire time I run.

So, why did I neglect to use my Fitbit for so long? It wasn’t broken. It wasn’t lost. Nothing like that. I refused to use my Fitbit because I wanted something else instead.

Now, it’s a lighthearted example. A first world problem. A tiny situation. My story requires no sympathy. But it does make me wonder. How many of us aren’t using what we have for the glory of God because we long for something better?

There’s a well-known story recorded in each of the four Gospels. Jesus and His disciples are ministering to a large crowd of people. While near the Sea of Galilee, something miraculous takes place.

“Now when it was evening, the disciples came to him [Jesus] and said, ‘This is a desolate place, and the day is now over; send the crowds away to go into the villages and buy food for themselves.’ But Jesus said, ‘They need not go away; you give them something to eat.’ They said to him, ‘We have only five loaves here and two fish’” (Matt. 14:15-17 ESV).

Only. It’s a word of limitation. There’s not enough. Something is lacking. And the disciples realize this. I mean, here’s Jesus asking them to feed over five thousand people with five loaves of bread and two fish. The disciples believe there’s another option for these hungry people. They can “‘ . . go into the villages and buy food for themselves’” (v. 15 ESV).

But Jesus has another idea. He recalls the five loaves of bread and two fish.

“And he said, ‘Bring them here to me.’ Then he ordered the crowds to sit down on the grass, and taking the five loaves and the two fish, he looked up to heaven and said a blessing. Then he broke the loaves and gave them to the disciples, and the disciples gave them to the crowds. And they all ate and were satisfied. And they took up twelve baskets full of the broken pieces left over. And those who ate were about five thousand men, besides women and children” (v. 18-21 ESV).

Wow. This makes my Fitbit story look silly. But the underlying premise is the same. You see, the disciples decide to give Jesus what they have instead of looking for more. They let Jesus make the most of what they have instead of coveting something else.

When it comes to your relationship with God, don’t fall for the lie that says you need something better to serve Him. Stop comparing your gift to someone else’s gift. Stop thinking your talents or resources hold less purpose than someone else’s.

As William Barclay says, “In the hands of Jesus, little is always much. We may think that we have little of talent or substance to give to Jesus… . If we put ourselves into the hands of Jesus Christ, there is no telling what he can do with us and through us.”

When God calls Moses to lead the Israelites out of Egypt, Moses feels so inadequate. But while he doubts, God asks him a simple question.

“The LORD said to him, ‘What is that in your hand?’ He [Moses] said, ‘A staff’” (Ex. 4:2 ESV). And God uses that staff as an instrument to display His glory and rescue His people from Pharaoh. In fact, God tells Moses, “‘And take in your hand this staff, with which you shall do the signs’” (v. 17 ESV).

Moses eventually leads the Israelites out of Egypt. Why? Because he chooses to give God what he has instead of longing for what he doesn’t have. And God desires the same from us.

So, yeah. My Fitbit doesn’t compare to an Apple Watch. But I can make the most of what I have instead of dwelling on what I don’t have. And when it comes to our spiritual lives, we can choose to give God what we have instead of focusing on what we don’t have. After all, God works miracles from the smallest of things.

By Isaiah Pauley

Isaiah Pauley is passionate about sharing Jesus in a simple way. Follow the journey of this young pastor at, on Facebook at Isaiah Pauley Page, or on Instagram @isaiahpauley.

Isaiah Pauley is passionate about sharing Jesus in a simple way. Follow the journey of this young pastor at, on Facebook at Isaiah Pauley Page, or on Instagram @isaiahpauley.