Saturday, October 21, 2017

Numbering Our Days

"Let the beauty of the LORD our God be upon us, And establish the work of our hands for us; Yes, establish the work of our hands" —Psalm 90:17.

Moses reflects on the brevity of life and our mortality: We live 80 years or so and then we "fly away" (90:10)—in which case, Moses cautions us against taking life lightly: “Teach us to number our days that we may gain a heart of wisdom" (90:12). 

We have a few days to live and then we're gone, so we need to get life right the first and only time we go around. As educator Walker Percy said, it's possible to get all A's and flunk life. It would be tragic indeed to live one's entire life and miss the point of living. 

What are the things that matter and make our lives meaningful? The "beauty of the Lord" and "works" that endure forever (90:17). This is the “wisdom” we gain from numbering our days. 

The "beauty of the Lord" is His matchless beauty, manifest in us through His Holy Spirit. Put another way, it is the fruit of His Spirit growing in us, a quality of life that is patient, joyful, gentle, faithful, tranquil, merciful and strong.

"Enduring works" are those works that are done in Jesus' name and for His sake. It's not a particular thing that we do, but the manner in which we do everything. It can be teaching, counseling, coaching, attending a class, reading a book, cleaning house, chopping wood, preparing a spreadsheet, or writing up a report. But if done for Jesus' sake and as He would do it, it will endure forever. 

The character of Jesus and works done in His name. These are the things we take with us when we "fly." John heard a voice from Heaven saying, "Blessed are those who die in the Lord…for their deeds go with them" (Revelation 14:13). Everything else gets left behind.

How can I accomplish these things? Only by God's grace and through prayer: "Let the beauty of the LORD our God be upon us, and establish the work of our hands" (Psalm 90:17).

David Roper

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