In Psalm 90;12, Moses is recorded as writing, “Teach us to number our days aright, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.”
When you think about it, that’s excellent advice because it reminds us we have a finite number of days to live. That number is chosen in advance of our birth and set by God, who created us.
Just a few verses prior, Moses explained, “The length of our days is 70 years — or 80, if we have the strength.” He also noted those days will pass quickly and then we’re gone.
That means, the average person will have about 25,500 days on earth before they vanish into the pages of history. By the time someone is 50, there are only 7,300 days remaining. For me, who turned 62 just a few weeks ago, I’m down to around 2,920 days — and the clock continues to tick until the final buzzer sounds to indicate my game of life is over.
Does the idea your days are numbered scare you or excite you?
Some people are so tired they cannot wait for the buzzer to sound. Others want to cram as much activity and purpose into each day as they possibly can.
The rest of the Psalm 90 has other messages pertaining to purpose, which we would be wise to heed, including:
Verse 9 — “All our days pass away under your wrath; we finish our years with a moan.” But, does it really need to be that way? I don’t think so because people who finish their final years with a moan are less likely to hear “Well done, good and faithful servant” after they take their last earthly breath.
Verse 15 — “Make us glad for as many days as you have afflicted us, for as many years as we have seen trouble.” This passage speaks to joy. Yes, it is possible to experience joy in spite of any troubles with which we must contend.
A young mother of elementary-age children from my church just succumbed to cancer after a years-long battle. Two weeks before she passed away, she was singing praise songs with the worship team. That woman understood the meaning of 2 Corinthians 4: 17-18, which states,
“For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.”
As long as we have breath in our lungs, there is something we can do to make our little part of the world a little brighter, even if it’s only to give hope to someone else who thinks they have none.
Verse 17 — “May the favor of the Lord our God rest upon us; establish the work of our hands for us — yes, establish the work of our hands.” The creator of the universe ordained a very specific role for each of us to play in his epic tale. God gave us work to do with our hands and minds. When we carry it out, his favor rests upon us.
The point of numbering our days is to gain a heart of wisdom — not necessarily a mind of wisdom. According to the Pulpit Commentary, a “heart of wisdom” means to reflect on the brevity of life so that our heart can be wise and understanding.
That sounds like we have a choice to make with the final days and years of our life to invest each day in a wise and understanding way. Therefore,
- Do we spend our days in online political debates with strangers who have no power to affect change, or do we pass on our knowledge and wisdom to someone younger who could truly benefit from our advice? Perhaps we can help them from falling into the same pits that trapped us in the past.
- Do we spend our days isolated and alone watching endless television reruns, or do we seek to apply our knowledge and wisdom to solve a problem or develop a solution someone is desperately praying to receive? Sometimes people can’t see solutions because they are too close to the problem. So, lend them your eyes.
- Does our life simply consist of passing time between meals, or intentionally doing something to make our numbered day count?
I’ve tried counting days. It’s not fun as the minutes tick by ever so slowly. Today, I want my days to count to be a blessing to someone else by teaching a lesson, doing a favor or opening his or her eyes to the endless possibilities still ahead.
After closing his business and enduring several painful years of uncertainty regarding what to do with his life, Greg founded Forward From 50 to help men and women over 50 to live more purposeful lives by pursuing things they are passionate about. A Wisconsin native, Greg currently lives in Arizona.