Teach Us to Number Our Days

Words by Dustin Murray | Image by Blakeney Clouse

Psalm 139:16-17 “Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them. How precious to me are your thoughts, O God! How vast is the sum of them!”

Wisdom beckons us to reflect upon the time that we are given and how we choose to spend it. In Psalm 90:12, Moses asks God to “teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom.”

This is an incredible petition worth considering.

Some choose, to quote Time by Pink Floyd: “to fritter and waste the hours in an offhand way.” Others choose the Carpe Diem “Seize the Day!” approach. The apostle Paul states in Acts 17:25 that God “gives to all mankind life and breath and everything,” so it seems fitting that only the second approach is worth our consideration.

Once we truly grasp that we are made in the image of God (Gen. 1:27), for the glory of God (Is. 43:7), and that life abundant is found in our death-embracing and grave-shattering Savior (1 Cor. 15), we find purpose and a launchpad for living our lives in such a way that we treasure the time we are given, for the glory of the Giver of time. Once we discover that we were created to not only know God, but to enjoy Him forever, the breathtaking call of the King of Majesty to deny ourselves, pick up our cross, follow him, and advance the gospel (Lk. 9:23, Phil. 1:12) becomes our lifeblood.

Though our lives are but a vapor on the radar of both history and eternity, they matter both to God and others– from before conception to beyond the nursing home. Paul calls us, in 1 Cor. 10:31, to “do all things to the glory of God.” So, friends, let us cherish this time that we have been given by nourishing our souls with the wisdom of the Word, sharing the gospel of hope with a world in need, loving our families, friends, neighbors, co-workers, strangers, and even our enemies as those for whom Christ died. Let us give ourselves, our time, effort, and energy to work for the progress and joy in the faith of others (Phil. 1:25), learning to see one another as blessings and not burdens.

Through the valleys of despair, the mountain peaks of joy, and every precious day in between, let us learn to count each breath as a gift from the God that spoke the universe into being with a power of a word. Let us remember, that even in our suffering, we have the unshakeable promise that God works every single ounce of our tear-soaked, heart-bursting, gut-wrenching, and soul-screaming pain together for our good and His glory (Romans 8:28). Finally, lest we think that seizing the day is only reserved for those who climb Mt. Everest or swim across the English Channel, let us consider that it might look more like Jesus washing the feet of his disciples, comforting the brokenhearted, encouraging the downcast, or giving a cup of water to the thirsty.

Lord, by your grace, guard us (as the ancient adage goes) against the potential barrenness of a busy life, shield us from the tragedy of a wasted one, and guide us urgently into making a Christ-exalting difference in the world. 

… for your progress and joy in the faith.

Dustin WL

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