Teach us to number our days,
that we may gain a heart of wisdom. – Psalm 90:12
Wisdom comes from our ability to “number our days”. This is from the NIV, but I really love what the New Living Translation adds when it translates this passage – “realize the brevity of life”.
On the surface, numbering our days is a reminder that our time in this world is finite. As disciples of Jesus, we should live with the outlook that our days in this present body will not go on forever. Jesus asks in Luke 12:25 who among his followers can add add even an hour to their time on earth. It is a convincing sign of our weakness. We cannot do a thing about how much time we have been allotted.
As I have been around those who are coming to the perceived end of their time, questions abound like “why did I miss this moment?”, “why did I not make family/God more of a priority?” and “why did I strive for what is so easily forgotten?” Clarity comes when the reality of the finite nature of our time becomes apparent.
Keeping our days numbered will help us to keep our head upturned. I won’t take for granted that there is a “tomorrow” to follow my path or do what is right. Wisdom means living for God now. If I live in the awareness that my time is precious, I will make the most of each moment. Now, don’t get this mixed up, making the most does not mean living in a constant state of activity and productivity. Rather, making the most means living each moment in proximity to the one who gave us the time.
Living with presence.
We will walk in contentment and trust knowing that we are not our own. This is wisdom. Not fighting for more or better, but trusting that God that has empowered our lives.
On another level, numbering our days or realizing the brevity of life may also mean to look back at what God has done for us previously. Left on its own, our mindset is dictated by “what has God done for me lately.” That is not indicative of wisdom or trust. Numbering our days takes the long view and keeps a record of God’s activity as the days have gone by.
Each of these two views of numbering our days will flood our hearts with light. Truth will lead to living with a heart of wisdom. The more we enter God’s presence, the more our hearts are transformed and the more we are conformed into the likeness of the One who came for us.
In a typical day, how aware are you of the numbering of your days? How can you intentionally live in the presence of God today? What causes you to live for things that are so easily forgotten?