Yesterday was a milestone in my life...a nontraditional birthday of sorts... for I turned 21,000 days old. My, I'm tired just thinking of that! A friend joked, "You don't look a day over 20,000!" Another talked about ALL those candles. And I took advantage of the day by suggesting going out for a birthday dinner, which my husband sweetly obliged.
Now, how did I figure out how many days old I am? Well...I can thank my little sister for that. Her mind runs that way, remembering unusual dates and figures, and making charts for all kinds of interesting things. What started her on this vein to begin with was the idea of figuring out how many days our mom had lived. From there, she charted out her own days...then she charted mine.
My sister's charting out, or numbering our days, caused me to ponder a prayer of Moses, recorded in Psalms 90:12. He says, "So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom." Earlier in verse 10, he writes, "The days of our years are threescore years and ten; and if by reason of strength they be fourscore years...," meaning that as a rule, or on the average, our lifespan could possibly be around 70 years, or at the most, we might hope for 80 years. Moses wrote this toward the end of his life, fully understanding the brevity of life.
Just last week I listened to a sermon by Max Lucado entitled "Cure for the Common Life." It is included in a DVD special which covers the highlights of the book by the same title. In that sermon, Lucado refers to that same prayer of Moses, and suggests that we take the number 70...subtract from it our age...and multiply it by 365. Soberly, he challenged, to take that calculated figure...our possible days left...before the Lord, and ask of Him two things:
- Teach me the brevity of life. ("Only a fool never checks his gas gauge", Lucado said. "Wise is the person who understands the brevity of life.")
- Teach me the frailty of my ways.
Yes...that figure is sobering, certainly for me it is. How many more sunrises and sunsets might we expect? And yet it is encouraging as well...and motivating...to live each day with purpose, within God's calling upon our lives.
"Lord...please teach me...to number my days... and to apply my heart to Your wisdom."