Number your days
There are many different views as to what is our true or intended lifespan. But whatever view we take, the following description by the Psalmist has remained approximately true from generation to generation and from culture to culture: “The days of our years are threescore years and ten; and if by reason of strength they be fourscore years, yet is their strength labour and sorrow; for it is soon cut off, and we fly away.” – Ps. 90:10. If we were to number our days, we’ll find that seventy or eighty years are about 25,600 to 29,200 days. We can be generous and say that it is roughly thirty thousand (30,000) days or about eighty two (82) years and a few months. Some persons live a little longer and many die younger. The question is, what can we really do with the days that we have?
An analogy might help to give perspective to the question. Suppose at birth, we are given thirty thousand dollars ($30,000) and we are told that that is all we will have to last us for our entire lifetime. If we invest it well, we may get one or two thousand dollars ($1000 or $2000) more, which is what a few more years beyond 82, would equate to. The good thing, however, is that you have an offer of getting an unlimited amount, depending on how you use the roughly 30,000 that you have. That is the promise of eternal life that is open to every person who has ever lived on this earth. What would be your choice? Would you seek to maximize your returns on $30,000, which at best may give you a few thousand dollars more or would you focus on devoting your 30,000 to securing the unlimited supply?
I think the wiser course is obviously is to seek the unlimited supply. For this reason, the Biblical advice is to “Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal” – Matt. 6:19, 20.
It raises the question: What is required to obtain the unlimited supply of days? The answer is righteousness. And what is righteousness? Righteousness is doing what God says – “Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.” (Matt. 7:21). The greatest motivation to do what God says is to believe God when He speaks. It is said of Abraham that “Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness.” – Rom. 4:3. Because Abraham believed God that God would make of Isaac a great nation, he obeyed God and offered up Isaac on Mount Moriah, “Accounting that God was able to raise him up, even from the dead” (Heb. 11:19). Abraham’s obedience demonstrated the extent to which he believed God. Hence, Abraham has been regarded as the father of the faithful – an exemplar of faith.
When all is said and done, there is nothing more important than eternal life. Jesus said: “But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.” (Matt. 6:33). He further said: “Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.” (Matt. 5:6).
Hungering and thirsting
Are people hungering and thirsting after righteousness today? People seem to be hungering and thirsting more for power! For some, it is the power that comes from having money. For others, it is political power or other forms of power that give them authority over other people. For some, it is the power to work miracles. But all of these forms of power are limited in their scope to the roughly 30,000 days that we already have, granting that we do not foolishly squander them or carelessly lose them. Isn’t eternity much better?
What is this big thing about healing the sick and raising the dead? Will the person then live to even 120 years? Not likely! They will still die! Then what? If God fails to grant our request for a miracle, do we then lose faith? In days gone by, people used to enquire of the Lord. Nowadays, people just seem to assume that they know what is in God’s mind. Clearly, we are not as wise as God. And if prophets to whom God spoke directly had to enquire of God, then who are we to think that we already know? Even if there is a general promise, time and circumstances require wisdom that comes from God, to determine what is most appropriate.
The apostle Paul encourages us to not sorrow as those who have no hope (1 Thess. 4:13). Eternity is available to us and nothing else matters as much. The ticket is righteousness, and we do not need more than our 30,000 days to purchase it. Some people think that Christ has already purchased it for everybody. The Bible teaches otherwise. Christ has purchased the opportunity, not the right for everyone to enter. With the opportunity purchased for us, we must seek righteousness. We are told: “Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city.” (Rev. 22:14). If we hunger and thirst for righteousness, we will be filled.
In the final analysis, we are invited to heed the admonition of the Psalmist: “So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom.” (Ps. 90:12). If, at the end of our days, we find that we would have wrought miracles and even done many wonderful works but we did not seek and obtain righteousness, all would have been lost.
“He that hath ears to hear, let him hear” (Matt. 11:15).
- Zerubbabel (Zech. 4:6)