It is not well known that one of the Psalms was actually written by Moses. This is the oldest of the psalms and due to the fact that we are reading chronologically, it shows up in today’s reading. Psalm 90 verse 12 really stands out in the chapter because Moses, instead of complaining about the condition of man and the people that he is with in the wilderness (Numbers is written in the time frame of the wilderness experience of Israel) Moses instead looks for instruction. He says “So teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.”
The older I get, the more I begin to realize my mortality. At age fifteen, sixty or seventy years of age seemed so far away; it also seemed like someone in their sixties was “ancient.” but man does time fly. It says in the book of James that our life is like a mist, and here in psalm 90 we are like the grass of the field that sprouts in the morning then is mowed down that same day. I often think about the wasted days of my life; days that were spent doing close to nothing, or perhaps spent on some things that were evil or counterproductive. Before God took hold of my life I was very concerned about my lawn. I would not let My wife mow the lawn because she would not have rotated the angle in which she pushed the mower and i would lose the “diamond pattern”. I kept my bushes trimmed to perfection and I spent a lot of time actually sweeping my driveway. Can you imagine that! Sweeping the driveway. What a colossal waste of time! The only one who noticed it was me. I later sold the house when called to vocational ministry and the new owner has destroyed the property. It is grown up, un-attended and looks like a used car/boat lot. The gutters are falling off of the garage and there is a large tarp over my old garage. There is no evidence of a yard well kept, that work was in vain and now I realize that it was even evil. I didn’t have time to go to extra Bible studies, or read the word or be in prayer because I was much too busy; but the yard was emmaculate. What a shame? How many people could I have reached if I had spent those few years doing what was important?
I also think about missed opportunities to spread the Gospel and how that those moments can never be repeated. Although there is nothing that we can do to go back and change those days or moments there is one thing that we can do; that is learn from them. What if we treated each day as it were our last? How would life be different? Would the things that matter most in life change?
One of my former students used his time to go and spread the Gospel in the Philippines on a short mission trip. While he was there he saw a need for discipleship and began to pray. He allowed God to teach him to number his days as he told me “Steve, I have no attachments at home; do you think that I should stay?” What he was saying, as a man in his early twenties, is he was going to take every opportunity in every stage of life to glorify God. He is in the Philippines right now and plans on staying for a year. If he had waited, perhaps he would have landed a job, wife or another responsibility that would have not allowed him to do Kingdom work. We could learn a lot from this young man about numbering our days.