“For the wise it is no negotiation; though he entangles as he makes his passage through this strange, horrendous terrestrial called earth, his subconscious leans-on on the supper being lest he forgets and lose focus of his home far away beyond the golden strand”— O. Peter
Many years ago, a man of God prayed a serious prayer point. It couldn’t have been anything short of a heart cry. When he weighed the greatness of God, His supremacy and justice compared to the frailty of man he resorted to this prayer. Also when he discovered that man, with all his glory and beauty, is just like a beautiful flower that appears and blossom in the morning only to be gathered as debris at dusk. He could not hold his peace any longer. He must have thought: “wow! All these beauty, strength, agility, intelligence, brilliance, grace…so it can be cut away just in a moment? So this healthy, happy, jolly man can just cease to live in a wink of an eye? So this strong man can soon be forgotten as his strength fails…, hmm, what a fleeting human life!” This understanding pushed him to the place of earnest prayer. Beloved, as I introduce you to the insight of this man of God, I wish you will begin to see life the way he sees it. I wish it will push you to a wholesome thinking. How I wish this simple matter will become a serious matter in your heart. How I pray it will push you to your knees in sincere and earnest prayer. How sincerely I pray it will propel you to a serious and devoted action.
It was an outcry of a onetime leader of the ancient nation of Israel. Perhaps when he realized that the earthly sojourning of a man is but like a day before the Lord he exclaimed …teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts to wisdom. (Psalms 90:12, KJV). A version of the Bible renders it as Teach us to number our days aright, that we may gain a heart of wisdom. (NIV) Psalm 90 which is believed to have been written by Moses is a common Psalm that is commonly used in social gathering such as birthdays and burial ceremonies. Unfortunately, though this portion of the scriptures is quoted many times, many do not understand its meaning let alone understand its importance. Hence it wouldn’t have become a mere emotional chant or occasional reminder on the brevity of life in a burial ceremony and the likes. Rather, it would have being a regular scripture of meditation and prayer for every individual.
To understand this crucial issue, your heart needs to be taught. Unless you allow the Lord to teach you this lesson, it will always elude you. Many have made a shipwreck of their destiny because they did not sit down to learn such fundamental principles as this. It couldn’t have being for fun that the man of God said “Teach us…oh God.” And that’s why it’s not an issue you can gloss over. You cannot know how to number your days excepts the Lord teaches you; except He helps you to know how to conduct yourself in line with His precepts while you are here you are liable to be entangled in the affairs of life to your eternal detriment. Whereas it must be learnt and taught; only God can teach it and you must be willing to learn it. Though God must need a mouthpiece to teach it to you, you will never get it if the Lord is not determined to teach you. Do you have a teachable and humble heart, a heart that wills and yearns for the righteousness of God? A heart that craves for God and indeed more of Him; such a heart that wants to know how to exist within the allocated time, do you have it? That’s the prerequisite if God must teach you. Can you ask God to teach you this lesson of life and a ready heart?
…To number our days…
Numbering here is not just the mere taking of note of the passage of time by a particular measure (seconds, minutes, hours, days, months or years). It is rather taking note of the passage of time with regards to the discovery, pursuit and fulfillment of life mandate. It means maximizing and investing each day of your life into the business of destiny. It means exploring and exploiting each day for maximum productivity. It means to consciously plan, prosecute and evaluate each day of your life in line with your purpose fulfillment. It means subjecting each day of your life to proper examination and critical analysis of how it is being spent. It means presenting each day before God for His blessings.
It also means waiting on God each day for conception of fresh ideas to be pursued. It means setting realistic goals to be fulfilled each day by the leading and help of the Holy Spirit. It means pursuing such goals with zeal and passion. It means living every second of each day with the consciousness of what is to be done, focusing on the specific task ahead. It means sitting down and evaluating your life each day in accordance with God’s word and the set goals every night before closing each day.
It means living every moment of each day with eternity in view. It means being vigilant and watchful against time wasters, pleasure seeking, endless sleep, vain and selfish pursuits, idleness and laziness…each day. It also means diligence in business, fervency in Spirit and in the service of the Lord each day. Beloved, if your days are not being spent on productive ventures, you are wasting your life. Your counting of years will only amount to a cumulative addition of emptiness. Just like zero in one million places adds up to zero, so is every one lavishing their lives in unproductive ventures. You must learn to count your days rightly now if your years will count in God’s kingdom and in the life to come.
The numbering of our days becomes imperative because…
- …our days are numbered (Psalm 90:10). Whether you like it or not your breath will soon fizzle out when your life will be gone. You will soon—go the way of all flesh—return to dust. Your lifeline will soon expire. You’d better not waste your days. The days of our life are few and fleeting! Hence, you cannot afford to waste it!!
- …there is neither replacement nor second chance to your life. Do you know that your life is not yours and that it belongs to God? (Col.1:16). And you can only live once. There is no room at all for a second chance, so if you waste your days in frivolities, you will only find yourself to blame. There will be no space for a re-match. Immediately the final whistle blows, you have no option but to hang your boots. Brethren, you have only one Will you waste it?
- …you will be held responsible for your life (Eccl.12:14). Your life is not your life, it is God’s. You are loaned to profit therewith. It is a misguided mentality to think your life is wholly your business and that it concerns nobody. Do not be deceived, you will be held responsible for everything you do with it. You are a steward of destiny. You will surely be judged for how you spend your life.
- …you need to count your days so that your days will You need to intentionally and consciously devote your days to things that matter so that your days will count.
- …you do not know the actual time when your time shall be up. Jesus died at 33 years of age and he was fulfilled. What if you have few years more to live? What do you have to show for your life?
But Why ‘Days’ and not ‘Years?’
It interests me that Moses used the word “days” and not “years”. I discovered that we men prefer to number our lives in years. No wonder many value their yearly birthdays so much. The issue of 365 days making up a year is actually the idea of men. We must therefore understand that God is more interested in our days than our years. This is so because life is more realistically planned, prosecuted and assessed each day than each year. Since days add up to years, well spent days will always cumulate into a well spent year. Hence, wasted days are tantamount to a wasted year. It is unfortunate that many do wait for the New Year, birthdays or other red letter days in their lives to critically assess and evaluate their actions over the past year.
They make yearly resolutions, plans, visions etc. without a realistic day-to-day plan that could make their yearly vision come to fulfillment. The mistake or error of a day is easily seen and fixed than a week let alone a year. The wisdom is that living daily makes the vision of God to be fresh in one’s sight daily. It makes room for waiting on the Lord and renewal of strength for each day’s assignment. It makes room for dependency on God each day. The foolishness in living without numbering your days is seen in the danger of irresponsibility, laziness and time wasting, lack of accountability, veering off the way of Christ and the lane of destiny, losing steam in the journey of fulfillment, falling prey to the law of diminishing; returning gradually to dust without noticing, living carelessly etc. you must trust God to take stock of your life daily lest you waste God’s grace and end your life without fulfillment.
If therefore you will number your days then you…
- …must be born again. Salvation closes a chapter in a man’s life and opens a new one. Your days cannot be lived or numbered rightly unless you are first saved in Jesus and you have a hope of eternity. Indeed a man has no destiny outside Jesus!!!
- …must discover your life’s purpose. Your life’s purpose defines your lifetime. Numbering your days involves planning, executing and evaluating each day of your life in line with your purpose fulfillment. However, until you discover your life’s purpose, your days cannot be well spent. You will only continue to squander your time in things that add no value to your life and destiny. Many a man had wasted their years on things that are inconsequential before they discovered the only one thing that matters. They’d wandered long in the fields of life, wasting precious time before they discovered the purpose of life. But it is more unfortunate that many are dying without discovering their life’s purpose. What a miserably wasted life! If you will not waste your days and consequently your life, you need to discover your life purpose. There is the general purpose and the specific purpose you must discover. The general purpose every man must fulfill is the use of our lives to worship God. This is seen in fellowship with God and in general service to God. Living to worship and serve Him is the whole purpose of life. However, there is a specific purpose that God designed your life to fulfill. You must seek Him to discover it so that you can pursue it. Outside these, life is meaningless. In other words, every purposeless life is a meaningless life!!!
- …must always seek God daily for more visions and instructions that will guide you in the fulfillment of His purpose for your life. Your life’s purpose is the ultimate destination where God is leading you. You however need to continually seek God for daily directions that will lead you to the desired destination. Just as we know in part, fulfillment is also always in parts. Apart from this the vision of God for your life will only remain a vision.
- …must make fellowship with God a major part of your day. This is seen in creating personal time for prayer, Bible study, meditation on God’s word, fellowshipping with other believers (where possible) etc on daily basis. You must also always avail yourself of every opportunity to serve God daily. These will ensure that you are fulfilling part of the general purpose each day.
- …must ensure that you plan each day around fulfilling a portion of the purpose of God for your life. This means fulfilling your days with activities that have something to do with the general purpose and the specific purpose of life. Consciously make your days a progress in the project of destiny.
- …must make evaluation daily on whether you are able to fulfill the plan for each day or not. It will be good if you constantly assess your life. This will help you to make amends in any area you are found wanting. One crucial word in numbering your days is ‘consciously’ or ‘deliberately.’ Men that will live a fulfilled life are those who are conscious on how they spend their time daily. This reality made Jesus to say ‘I must do the work of him that sent me, the night comes when no one can work.’
- …must be careful of self-indulgences and the love of pleasure. Men who sit down each day spending hours with T.V, Newspapers, Football viewing, Video games, Chatting on phones, browsing etc. are wasting precious time in frivolities. Be wise in dealing with things that have no value to add to your life and destiny. Time wasters are life wasters. If you are not disciplined, sleep and mundanities will fill up your time. Men that number their days rightly are men that are in control of their time. Everyone has 24 hours in a day but individuals will determine what they make of it. If you are not in control of your time, junks will fill your days. Tony Compolo made a powerful statement, he said “The way you see your future determines your thinking today, and your thinking today determines your performance today.” A visionless man is a purposeless man, a purposeless man is a directionless man and a directionless man is a careless, carefree and complacent man. A daily sharpening of vision will ensure that you do not lose sight of the goal ahead of you. … That we may gain a heart of wisdom… When the Lord opens your eyes to this truth, you will become wise. You will be a fool no longer. You will be no more at ease. God is saying: “It is foolishness to live without numbering your days.” But meanwhile not until you allow your heart to be taught this lesson we’ve been reading, you will never become wise with your time. Shalom.
By OLUKUNLE OjO