“Teach us to number our days,
that we may present to you
a heart of wisdom”
–Psalm 90:12 (NAS)
I did the math and numbered my days: over 24,000 so far. That means I’m well past the half-way point of the average earthly life. And such a sobering thought would surely weigh heavy on my mind, if I did not have heaven to look forward to.
But I’m certain Moses (the author of Psalm 90, above) wasn’t asking God for a multiplication lesson.
Perhaps in learning how to number his days Moses wanted to:
- make each day count by accomplishing worthwhile tasks, or
- live mindfully so steady growth and learning took place, or
- dedicate himself to the well-being of others, or
- look for God throughout each day, worshiping and praising, or
- revel in the positive instead of grovel in the negative.
Perhaps Moses was thinking of all those things.
According to two commentators, Numbering our days means: 1) living in such a way that each day has value, and 2) living intentionally in ways that bring glory to God and blessing to others.
Then notice what Moses indicates will happen when we live with those supreme purposes:
We’ll be able to present to God a heart of wisdom—a heart with “the ability to see life from God’s perspective, and then to know the best course of action to take” (p. 1055, Living Application Bible).
That seems to me a lovely gift to present to my Heavenly Father—accepting his perspective and acting upon it.
But learning to number our days and grow in wisdom are such abstract processes. It’s difficult to determine progress. So how might we know that we’re learning and growing? These ten questions may help; they’re based on the Book of Wisdom, Proverbs. Try answering in the context of the last ten—maybe even twenty—years:
- Am I more aware of God’s daily gifts and more grateful to him for these blessings (15:13)?
- Do my thoughts frequently turn to God during the day? Am I continually turning to him for guidance? (2:1-6)
- Do I express trust in God more often than worry about circumstances (3:5-6)?
- Am I pursuing biblical instruction (8:33-34a)?
- Do I take great pleasure in building up others (10:11)?
- Am I able to think before I speak (10:19b)?
- Do I give people the benefit of the doubt (19:11)?
- Am I becoming more patient and kind–especially toward challenging people (25:21-22)?
- Do I thoughtfully consider the advice of those who are knowledgeable and wise (19:20)?
- Am I able to do what’s right even when there’s no one around to notice (10:9)?
Scripture tells us that when Abraham died, he was “satisfied with life” (Genesis 25:8, NAS). Surely satisfaction with life includes the development of a heart of wisdom, which Abraham demonstrated by his life of faith–in spite of challenges, disappointments, and uncertainties.
But the pinnacle of satisfaction must have been presenting that heart of wisdom to God Almighty on the day he entered heaven’s gates.
My prayer is that I’ll be able to do the same.
“What we weave in time
is what we’ll wear in eternity.”
– Mart DeHaan