Time Is Running Out
So teach us to number our days, That we may cultivate and bring to You a heart of wisdom.
By the time Moses wrote this psalm, he was growing old. As he reflected on his life, he realized that life passes really quickly. When we’re young, life seems to crawl, but in old age, it flies by! To an eternal God, however, time is meaningless. A thousand years, Moses knew, is like a day to God.
The rapid pace and gravity of life, though, isn’t a cause for despair but for wisdom. Moses asked God for insight: “Teach us to number our days.” He didn’t mean to count them one after another, but to value each one individually so we don’t waste a single one.
With a sense of urgency, some people feel compelled to fill up each moment of each day with a much activity as possible, but this isn’t the model of life Jesus gave us. He lived each moment with the certainty that His life counted, and He made choices to speak, work, rest, and engage others became counted, and He made choices to speak, work, rest, and engage others because His heart was focused on the Father’s will, not some arbitrary standard of achievement.
Life is short, but it’s full of meaning, love, and hope if we “number” our days and live them for Christ instead of wasting them on empty pursuits. With Him in the center of our lives, we can rest, laugh, work hard, serve, and engage people in conversations that matter. That’s what Jesus did. We can too.
You can earn more money, but when time is spent it is gone.
Time stands still for no man.
It’s not so much the quantity of time but the quality of time that counts. When someone comes to the end of their earthly life, the greatest compliment that can be said is that they lived life well and lived it for God. Many of us spend a lot of time regretting our past or waiting until the “right” moment comes along, not realizing that we are wasting the time we still have. If you’ve messed up, go to God ask and receive His forgiveness and move on. You can’t redo the past, fix most of the things you regret, or make most things change. Second of all there is never a “right” time to do anything.
On of the sad outcomes of the pandemic is that a lot of people have put their lives on hold, waiting for the day when everything will return to the old norms. Many churches are in a survival mode, waiting until things go back to old patterns and ways. All the while time is marching on and they are missing opportunities because those opportunities aren’t just like the old ones.
Each of us have a number of days and it really doesn’t matter as much about how many we have or have left but how we use the days we have. No matter the circumstances we can find a use for our lives and our times.
During my work as a hospice chaplain, I met a couple who had lived life on hold. To be sure they had made great plans for what they would do someday. The wife told me that they had spent their lives working two jobs so they could buy land, build a house and have everything paid for by the time they retired. They took no vacations, spent very little time doing anything except work to earn money or to get everything shipshape around the house. The year of their retirement, the husband contacted a disease that attacked the nervous system, shutting down his body one part at a time. By the time he went on hospice, he had lost most of his mobility and it wasn’t long before speech and the ability to communicate. As the wife sat on the couch in tears sharing her story, she said that her regret was that they had put off life and dreams and now it was too late to travel or enjoy any of the things they had been saving for. She said, “Look at us. Here we are sitting in this room and I’m not even sure my husband knows who I am and we can’t even talk together any more much less than doing all the things we had planned. How I wish we had lived life instead of just passing through it without taking time to enjoy it on the way.”
I hope their story motivates us to live and enjoy every day and to know that every day is a gift from God. I hope the church realizes that we have no time to be on hold waiting for things to be “right” again. I hope that we all will choose to live and especially live out our lives for God and invest ourselves in eternal matters.
We may not have control on how long we live but we can choose how we live.
Dr. John Thompson