No, this is not an announcement that I have a terminal disease, nor am I in a morbid frame of mind. Numbering the days we have left can produce a golden heart of wisdom. Let me explain.
Today is my birthday. I’m happy to be alive, fortunate to have lived a good life, glad to have family and friends whom I love and who love me, and thankful to be on this new adventure. But birthdays can be reminders for me, reminders to number my days.
Let’s do a little math.
I have lived 58 years, so that means I have been around for 21,184 days (including the extra days for leap years!). The average American male lives just over 76 years (for women, it’s 81). So if I just work with the average, I have 16 years left, or 5,844 days (including leap years again). This is just an example, as I know my days are in God’s hands. But that’s not the point. The point is that I have a limited amount of time to spend, very limited. It’s not endless. The same thing happens with money when we deal with the realities of a budget. We have to make hard decisions about how to spend what we have.
Here is where the Bible speaks with both realism and hope. First, the realism. We can now appreciate the prayer of Psalm 90: “Teach us to number our days aright, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.” We often live in denial of death, yet ironically, this very denial engenders the foolish decisions that wound us and the neuroses that corrupt us. The Bible intimates that those who live staring death in the face are the wise ones, even the happy ones.
Now to the hope. We can number our days because this is not all there is. Paul tells us not to lose heart but to fix our eyes on the unseen, on the solid hope of heaven (see II Cor. 4:16-18). With this perspective, how are we to spend our days? I can tell you how I want to spend them. I want to live for the expansion of Christ’s kingdom, helping plant Christ in the human heart. I want to keep fighting for this and then go down swinging. Whatever apparent risk is involved now will be so worth it.
So today, do a little math. How many days do you have left? How do you want to spend them?