Teach Us to Number Our Days: The Meaning & Value of Today
- Greg Laurie Senior Pastor, Harvest Christian Fellowship
- 2018 27 Jul
"Teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts to wisdom." ~ Psalm 90:12
Life is filled with opportunities, but the big question is what we do with them. Do we let them slip by, saying, “Maybe next time. There is always another day”? Or, do we seize them? We may not have as much time as we think.
"Teach us to number our days" Meaning
John Gill's Exposition of the Bible Commentary on Psalm 90:12 teach us the beautiful meaning: "Not merely to count them, how many they are, in an arithmetical way; there is no need of divine teachings for that... nor is this to be understood of calculating or reckoning of time to come - no man can count the number of days he has to live. the number of his days, months, and years, is with the Lord but is hid from him...But rather the meaning of the petition is, that God would teach us to number our days, as if the present one was the last. For we cannot boast of tomorrow, we know not but this day, or night, our souls may be required of us. But the sense is, that God would teach us seriously to meditate on, and consider of, the shortness of our days. That they are but as a shadow...and to observe how unprofitably we have spent them, which may put us upon redeeming time, and also to take notice of the goodness of God, that has followed us all our days, which may lead us to repentance, and engage us in the fear of God."
"That we may apply our hearts to wisdom" Meaning
Again, John Gills commentary explains wonderfully the what and why behind applying your heart to wisdom - "to seek the way of salvation by Christ - to seek to Christ, the wisdom of God, (for it to fear the Lord, which is the beginning of wisdom) and to walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise...For unless a man is taught of God, and by his Spirit convinced of sin, righteousness, and judgment, he will never be concerned, in good earnest, about a future state. Nor inquire the way of salvation, nor heartily apply to Christ for it: he may number his days, and consider the shortness of them, and apply his heart to folly, and not wisdom."
Dr. Leslie Weatherhead calculated the average length of a life using the hours of one day to illustrate the importance of recognizing the value of time. He concluded that if your age is 15, the time is 10:25 a.m. If your age is 20, the time is 11:34. If your age is 25, the time is 12:42 p.m. If you’re 30, the time is 1:51. If you’re 35, the time is 3:00. If you’re 40 the time is 4:08. At age 45, the time is 5:15. If you’re 50, the time is 6:25. By age 55, the time is 7:24. If you’re 60, the time is 8:42. If you’re 65, the time is 9:51. And if you you’re 70 the time is 11 p.m.
Psalm 90:12 reminds us, “Teach us to number our days that we may apply our hearts to wisdom” (NKJV). Or as the Living Bible puts it, “Teach us to number our days and recognize how few they are; help us to spend them as we should.”
Ephesians 5:15 says, “So be careful how you live. Don’t live like fools, but like those who are wise” (NLT).
Jesus told the story of a man who went on a journey and left his money with his servants. This was not an uncommon thing in those days. A wealthy man or a ruler would have many servants in his household, from those who performed basic labor to those who managed the financial affairs of his household, even his business. In many cases some of the man’s servants would be better educated and skilled than he was. Highly trusted slaves had a virtual free hand within prescribed areas of responsibility while the owner was at home.
When the owner would go on a journey, he would leave full authority in the hands of these key servants, who would have the ancient equivalent of a power of attorney. So Jesus described a scenario in which a wealthy man went on a journey and left the key servants in charge of his possessions. It’s difficult for us to know exactly what sum he left them, but one possibility is that he gave the equivalent of $5,000 to the first servant, $2,000 to the second servant, and $1,000 to the third.
What Are You Investing Your Days & Time In?
What is Jesus’ story saying to us? I think it’s quite obvious. Jesus is like that wealthy man who goes on a journey, which spans the day he left this earth to the day he returns in the Second Coming. We are the servants he has invested in, and we are to take what he has given us and use it for his glory while we await his return.
In the New Testament a word that is often used for “slave” or “servant” is the Greek word doulos. It’s a term that describes a unique class of servant, not someone who was made that way by constraint or by force. A doulos was someone who had been freed by their master yet still chose to serve out of love. The servant was so thankful for this pardon that he or she would willfully choose to serve.
The apostle Paul often referred to himself as a doulos, and that is what we are as followers of Jesus Christ. Christ has paid an incredible debt for us. He has pardoned us. He has forgiven us. And now we should become his voluntary servants, not because we have to but because we want to – because we love him. We recognize that he has instilled certain things in our lives that we are to use for his glory. Certain gifts. Certain talents. Certain resources. Everything.
Paul wrote, “Don’t you realize that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who lives in you and was given to you by God? You do not belong to yourself, for God bought you with a high price. So you must honor God with your body” (1 Corinthians 6:19–20 NLT).
Jesus said, “If any of you wants to be my follower, you must give up your own way, take up your cross daily, and follow me” (Luke 9:23 NLT). This doesn’t mean that we must take a vow of poverty. It simply means we recognize that it all belongs to God. Our lives belong to God. Our families belong to God. Our possessions belong to God. Everything is his.
In Jesus’ story, the first servant took what he had, invested it, and received a 100 percent return. He doubled his master’s investment. The second, though he had less, did the same thing.
This demonstrates that it isn’t a person’s talent that matters as much as how he or she uses that talent. God never demands from us the abilities we don’t have. But He does demand that we should use, to the full, the abilities that we do possess. We may not be equal in talent, but we should be equal in effort.
Take what God has given to you and do the most that you can with it for his glory. God can do a lot with a little. If you don’t believe me, just ask the boy with the five loaves and two fish who gave everything he had to Jesus. It didn’t seem like a lot, but Jesus used them to feed a hungry multitude. Jesus can take a little, bless it and multiply it. He can use it beyond our wildest dreams.
How to "Number Your Days"
If we will humble ourselves, take what we have and offer it to God, if we will be willing to do what he has placed before us and be faithful in the little things, then he will give us more to do. I would rather try and fail than never try at all. Any time you take a chance, you can fail. But it’s better to try than to never take chances and never have anything happen in your life.
So seize the day. Seize the moment. Seize the opportunities before you. Don’t put it off too long, because you may not have as much time as you think. Be productive with your life. Be productive with your time. Seize the opportunities God has given you.
Taken from my weekly column at WorldNetDaily.
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