Psalm 90 verse 12 begins: “So teach us to number our days . . .”
Last Sunday morning we were worshiping at The Church at West Franklin where our son Matt is the pastor. It was Baby/Child Dedication Day. As Matt addressed the parents, he started with the sobering statistic that there are 936 weeks from the time a child is born until he turns 18. A scant 936 weeks. Matt continued by calculating, according to the present age of each child, how many weeks those parents could expect to have with their child before he/she was ready to leave the nest. The faces of the parents of the five-year-old, the two-year-old, the four-year-old, looked very much like the faces of the parents of the twin girls who were only a few months old. Sobered. Startled. Challenged. In the midst of sleepless nights with newborns, potty-training with toddlers and temper tantrums with youngsters, these parents were reminded that their days of influence and training were limited. How important it becomes to avoid wasting even one of them on worrying, misplaced priorities, meaningless activities and prayerlessness. How crucial it is to seize every moment for loving, speaking words of encouragement, modeling godliness and instilling truth.
Matt continued by showing all of us the rest of that verse, the “why” of teaching us to number our days — “that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom.” Not only must we keep learning and studying God’s Word, but we must APPLY the wisdom contained in it. When we are likely in the busiest, most stressful days of parenting, we’re reminded to spend time in the Book to find the answers and to get the guidance we desperately need.
The Living Bible paraphrases it like this: Psalm 90:12 “Teach us to number our days and recognize how few they are; help us to spend them as we should.” Priorities. Valuing each one.
The New Living Bible puts it this way: “Teach us to realize the brevity of life, so that we may grow in wisdom.” One of my Momma’s most frequent quotes was “life is short.” So true.
The part about “growing in wisdom” continues, I believe, even when our children are launched and our nest is empty. A couple of days ago, I did one of those things that my parents used to do. (How many of you can relate to “becoming your parents?”) I was scrolling through the online edition of a local newspaper and came to the obituary listings. Age 69, age 65, age 62, age 66, age 88. Whoa. Only one name had lived past 70. Steve is 70 now. I’ll be 68 in less than 2 months.
Parents of preschoolers are not the only ones God reminds through the psalmist to “number their days.” Many of us have spent decades studying God’s word and mining it for nuggets, even big chunks and boulders full of wisdom. We never get to stop applying the wisdom that we’ve learned, and there’s still time, as long as we’re still breathing, to find and apply more.
Some thoughts for all of us on the first week of spring, 2018.