Number Your Days for Wisdom

“A thousand ages in Thy sight / are like an evening gone / short as the watch that ends the night / before the rising sun.” 

As we stand on the brink of 2022, most of us are filled with hopes and plans for what this year might hold, particularly after two weary years filled with national strain and the threat of illness. I pray that, if it is God’s will, this might be the year that the pandemic and other issues resolve. But even as I hope for an answer to these prayers, I am also aware that time and years are quickly slipping away. 

Isaac Watts penned this phrase in 1719 as part of his versification of Moses’ Psalm 90. This psalm is a reminder that God is our unshakeable, sovereign, and eternal refuge. But it also speaks of God’s justice and our weakness and fallenness. In verse 12, Moses asks God to “teach us to number our days carefully so that we may develop wisdom in our hearts.” 

The turn of the year is certainly a good time to consider new goals and desires and God does “richly provide us with all things to enjoy” (1 Timothy 6:17). He created a world that was very good for our pleasure, and, despite sin, this life does hold many enjoyments that are still good. But this does not change the sobering reality that each new year brings us closer to death and eternity.  

As we make our plans for the next twelve months, it is wise to take time to evaluate the driving forces behind our priorities and decisions. It is good when we can say that we are living for Christ, but there is something deeper to consider: Since this world is swiftly passing away and our primary mission is to be Christ’s agents of hope and truth, are we making the best use of our time and giftings for His kingdom? Are there areas of overmuch entertainment we should trim back, spending habits we should modify, areas of time usage that we could better steward, commitments that are draining energies which we could better employ for eternal profit? 

“If anyone builds on the foundation with gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay, or straw, each one’s work will become obvious. For the day will disclose it, because it will be revealed by fire; the fire will test the quality of each one’s work. If anyone’s work that he has built survives, he will receive a reward …” (1 Corinthians 3:12-15). 

Rosalie Chesley serves at the Baptist Convention of Maryland/Delaware as the assistant to the interim executive director and managing editor of BaptistLIFE.