The Number of Our Days

Nov 14th 2009

Psalm 90 records a prayer from Moses, one of the world’s greatest leaders.  It includes these words,

Teach us to number our days aright that we might gain a heart of wisdom.

Teach us to number our days. What does it mean to number our days?  There is a number.  It is not an unlimited number, it is a specific number.  In fact I decided to check out my number at  You plug in your birth-date, whether or not you are an optimistic or pessimistic person, and your bmi — ouch — and it spits out your “personal day of death.”  According to that website, the number days I have left is 14,422.

It sounds kind of morbid, right?  But this Psalm suggests that there is a wisdom of heart that grows in the life of the person who lives life with a number in mind.  This is tremendous insight that we need to reflect on more… the Bible says that we should live our lives with the end in mind…that we should spend our time as though death is knocking at the door.

Some of the ancient practitioners of our faith used to practice the discipline of numbering their days by keeping an actual human skull on their desk.  Daily they would hold the skull and reflect upon the fact that today might be their last.   How would that change your day’s activities, your attitude, your sense of urgency to fill your day with meaningful activities.  What would you be doing today if today was your last day?

What is the number of our days?  I don’t know, but I’ve been contemplating that today.  My father was in the this morning for quadruple heart bypass surgery.  All day long my prayer was, “God don’t let today be the end of his number.”  Here’s what I think…

1)  I think that numbering our days means that we live with our sights set on eternity.  That doesn’t mean that we write off today and mark our time till heaven comes.  It simply means that we will invest our today’s in activities that will matter forever.   So let me ask you, “What involvements, what projects, what goals, passions, hopes and dreams are you investing in today that have any chance of lasting beyond the number of our days.

2)  I think when it comes to numbering our days…the best number to focus on is one.  Even if gives me 14,000+ days, all I know I have is one.  I don’t even know if I have two, but I know that I have one.  I think wisdom of heart grows when we live our ONE day with eternity in our sights.

3) This Christmas, our teaching series will be called, ONE Christmas.  The idea that I am pondering is what kind of Christmas would I want to experience if I knew that this Christmas was my only Christmas.

4)  Today was not my dad’s last day.  I’m glad.  He came through the surgery.  As of 10pm tonight he still was on a ventilator, and still somewhat sedated.  So I haven’t talked to him, but Mom said that the doctors have given a good report.  His heartbeat and blood pressure is still out of kilter, but the doctors are encouraged.  Thank you to all of you who prayed.  It means a lot to me.

Today I was thinking about the number of my days.  Each day I get one.  You get one.  My prayer is that we will live it with a wisdom of heart.