“Teach us to number our days.” What does the Psalmist mean by that little phrase? Are we to literally “X” the calendar with each day that passes as we live our lives? I don’t think so. We can “X” a stack of calendars three feet tall and never develop the wisdom the Psalmist desires.
The New Living Translation translates the same verse this way: “Teach us to realize the brevity of life, so that we may grow in wisdom.” Now that grabs my attention! Life is short and it is getting shorter every day. There is not a week that goes by that we don’t hear about the untimely death of someone. A mom and dad overcome with excitement about the soon arrival of their baby have their joy crushed when the doctor says, “I’m sorry. There’s nothing we can do.” A car accident claims the life of a young person in their prime. Someone who is dearly loved dies suddenly of a heart attack. We have constant reminders of how quickly life can end.
When I was young I didn’t have much of a sense of urgency. People would talk to me about Jesus. They would say things like, “You need to give your life to Christ” or “God has a purpose for your life,” but I had other things to do at the time. It wasn’t that I didn’t believe in God, but God was Someone that would need to wait for me to do the things I wanted to do in life. I lived like I would live forever. I would have time later to get things straight with the Man upstairs. I shutter to think of my arrogance!
As a pastor I have been around many, many people who were living their last days. I’ve heard them speak about what they wish they would have done differently. I’ve heard them talk about what they wanted to do before they died. Believer and unbeliever alike, when they are made aware that the sand is slipping quickly through the hourglass becomes focused on what they want to do before they die. Some want to party like they will never party again. Others want to be with those they love. Still others want to get their “house” in order. For me, I don’t want to wait until the doctor says, “I’m sorry, there is nothing more we can do.” I don’t want to wait until a heart attack or cancer or any number of things suddenly ends my life. I want to live today in the wisdom of God. I want His plan for my life to be my passion. I want to live today as if it were my last, because it very well may be.
My prayer today, Lord, is that You would give me the wisdom to live today with wisdom. Not only knowing the right that I should do, but having the courage and faith to do it while there is still time.