Numbering Our Days
A number of years ago when I was seeking God’s will for my life and what to do vocationally, I read a quote that really hit me. It was a quote by author Annie Dillard which said “how we spend our days is how we spend our lives.” While I believe she was speaking of the importance of having a schedule that keeps her daily activities in line with her long-term goals, it made me realize that what I did with my time from day-to-day communicated what my life is truly about. In other words, it didn’t make much sense for me to say I valued certain things when I spent very little time investing in those things day-to-day. This was very convicting as I thought about the amount of time (or lack thereof) I spent on things I believed to be most important in my life which were my family, my children, time with the Lord, and doing His will. In fact, it was Dillard’s quote in part that prompted me to leave my job in banking and consider full time ministry. Of course, there were a lot of other factors involved in the vocational process, but this idea of the importance of how we spend our days has stuck with me.
Scripture reinforces this idea in Psalm 90:12 as it says “Teach us to number our days (Lord), that we may gain a heart of wisdom.”How do we number our days? They say the average lifespan in the U.S. is about 29,000 days, but that doesn’t help much since no amount of days are guaranteed. One person may live 5,000 days, another 35,000. We learn to number our days by valuing each one as it comes, for we don’t know what tomorrow will bring. I had read that Steve Jobs, co-founder of Apple, said at a commencement address that one of the secrets to his success was reminding himself that he could die at any time. This drove how he approached life and work. As it turned out, he died just six years after that commencement speech at the age of 56. I don’t think Steve Jobs was a Christian but recognizing that we don’t know what will happen tomorrow is an important factor for us as believers. Life this year seems to be proving that. Doesn’t it? If nothing else, one thing that should be clear from all that’s happened in 2020 is that we have very little control of the future. Proverbs 27:1 says “Do not boast about tomorrow, for you do not know what a day may bring.”
Learning to number our days can lead us to gain a heart of wisdom as we learn to live with humility. Since we don’t know what tomorrow will bring, we put our trust in God, our Rock and Redeemer. We choose not to place our trust in things that are worldly or temporal or in our own strength and ingenuity. We invest our time (each day the Lord graciously gives us) in the things His Word tells us are important. For some of you that may call for a new routine, asking Him when you wake up, what does He want for you today or reading the Bible to hear His voice. God loves you more than you could ever imagine. In the midst of all the change and turbulence in the world today, I encourage you to spend part of your day seeking Him and doing His will. God bless you.