Numbering Our Days

An inch of time cannot be bought with an inch of gold. – Chinese Proverb

Well, here we are in a brand new year. It’s fresh and pristine, undefined and misty, only 8 days old.

What are we going to do with it?

Resolutions are a common way to figure that out, and boy, do people have different ways to figure out their plans for the year! Health, fresh starts, adventures, career goals… The list of reasonings behind the world’s choice of resolutions could, I think literally, stretch for miles.

Happy New Year

Photo by Sally Mahoney on Flickr

They’re all really great things, too. If I ever get around to figuring out my own list of resolutions this year, I’ll use a lot of the same logic. But, as I think over this coming year, and the past one too, I am struck, run over, and “smacked upside the head” with the realization of how fast time flies and how precious it is. Like the Chinese proverb suggests, it really is worth more than gold.

With that in mind, there is a prayer request in the Bible that I think we should all ask of God as we look to those plans for the new year.

It’s in Psalm 90, verse 12: “So teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.”

You might be thinking that seems like a grim way to be thinking about the new year. Why would we ask God to show us how little time we have to live? More than that, how would that make us more wise?

In Psalm 39:4, we read the same prayer, but with a more fully explained reason. That helps a bit.

“Lord, make me to know my end, and what is the measure of my days, that I may know how frail I am.”

As we make all of our grandiose plans for the year, we have to remember that we are small specks of weak nothingness. We have no power to make anything in particular come to pass at all. James 4:15 even tells us that when we make plans, we should always have the attitude of, “If the Lord wills, we shall live and do this or that.” Just because we want something, doesn’t mean it will happen. That’s where submission to God’s authority comes in.

And that’s where my second reason for praying this prayer comes in. It fits nicely into one simple sentence:

It’s not all about us.

People who flaunt their attitude like to say things like, “It’s my life, I can do what I want with it.” That’s not a Biblical mindset. At all. In the slightest.

Instead, the Bible is full of direction for our life that includes being a part of a plan that’s bigger than just ours. We are allowed to be part of His. Take a look:

  • Ephesians 2:10 says, “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.” God has already lined up some great things you will have the opportunity to do for Him this year! We need to be ready to seize those opportunities. Trust me, they’ll mean more to you even than your plan to roller blade across America or hang glide off Mt. Everest.
  • Matthew 24:36 says, “But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, but My Father only,” talking about the return of Jesus. Jesus could come back this year! That certainly changes my whole list of priorities!
  • Ephesians 5:15-16 say, “See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil.” Every day we are supposed to be different from the world, walking wisely, and making the absolute best use of the time given to us by God that we can.

Making plans, for the day, the year, whatever, should be based on how we think God would want us to use that time. Does He want us to have time of enjoyment? Yes! Does He want us to be healthy and to make positive changes? Absolutely! The catch is, we can’t make our life or our year all about those things.

God could take you at any time and He could come back at any time. He has chosen to postpone both for His own reasons. What are you using that precious time for?

Just something to think about in 2015.

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