Teach us to number our days that we may apply our hearts to wisdom.  Psalm 90:12

 I used to look at this verse and feel a rush of adrenaline and a new resolve to make every moment count. But this verse is not about wasting moments; it’s about living for what really matters. In Psalm 39:4 David says, “Show me, O Lord, my life’s end and the number of my days; let me know how fleeting is my life.”

            In the book Leadership, Ben Patterson wrote of a time when two herniated disks had him totally incapacitated. “I couldn’t preach,” he said, “I couldn’t lead meetings. I couldn’t do anything but pray.”

            So with the church directory as a guide, he spent hours a day praying for each person in his church. He found the practice so sweet, he said, “Lord, it’s too bad I don’t have time to do this when I’m working.” Immediately God replied, “You have the same twenty-four hours each day when you’re weak as when you’re strong. When you’re strong, you think you’re in charge. When you’re weak, you know you aren’t.”

            John Ortberg, in the book When the Game is Over, It All Goes Back in the Box, talks about a speaker who filled the stage with props that represented all the things we live for: cars, houses, jobs, success, money. Then he placed a red sticker on each item. Each sticker contained the same word: temporary. If we live for these things, we live for what is temporary. Temporary satisfaction, temporary fulfillment, temporary meaning. When we live only for the temporary things, we haven’t “numbered our days.” We haven’t thought about what it will be like to get to the end of our lives and ask if we lived for what is really important. Wise people build their lives around what is eternal and squeeze in what is temporary. Not the other way around. This verse is an important prayer: asking God to remind us that our lives are temporary and short, but that eternity is timeless.

* Are you “numbering your days” or living as if you have days without number?

*What in your life is going to last forever, and what is temporary?

*Choose right now, one thing you will rearrange in your life in order to live with more wisdom.

God, help me to realize that I don’t know how many days I have here on earth. I need Your wisdom, so that I focus on what is eternal, not on what is temporary. God, I want to live for the things that really matter. I know that loving what You love (including people) is a good place to start. Open my eyes to see the way that You see. Teach me to number my days.  Amen

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