What Does Your Calendar Look Like?

 

Some time ago, I began writing a story whose main character was, quite simply, a man who had determined not to allow Time to dictate his life.  He wanted no age, no birthday, nothing by which his life could be measured.  Perhaps he thought by removing Time from the equation of his everyday living, he would be ageless somehow – I really couldn’t say.  But he was quite committed to the cause.  For example, he broke all connection to his origins, including any relationship to his father, instead telling everyone he was an orphan.  He kept no friendships very long, no long-term jobs or habits.  Eventually, he rejected days of the week, then hours on the clock-face, then any time frame whatsoever.  But that’s a tale for another time.

I cannot recommend his lifestyle.  We all live by clocks and calendars, for good and bad.  We use these devices to guide our daily actions, interactions, meetings and partings.  We allow them to determine what we can and cannot do, say “yes” to some things, “no” to others.  We make judgments of others by them (“she’s too old to wear that” and “he’s too young to do that”).  And for many of us, the longer we know them, the more we despise them. 

Lord, You have been our dwelling place in all generations. 

Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever You had formed the earth and the world, from everlasting to everlasting You are God. 

So teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom.

How do you number your days?  Moses’ prayer is a convicting one, to be sure.  In these “last days,” I want to be one who has learned to number his days rightly, to gain that heart of wisdom.  But I’m convinced that for most of my life, I have failed this in two regards.

First, I do not count my days at all.  As a younger man, I still often take days for granted without numbering them or reckoning their worth in light of their brevity.  I overlooked the importance of each day under the assumption that I had countless days to come.  In his psalm, Moses confronts this with a stark truth.

 The years of our life are seventy, or even by reason of strength eighty; yet their span is but toil and trouble; they are soon gone, and we fly away.

But then I may number my days in the wrong direction.  The silent deceit of clocks and calendars is that they are constantly counting upward.  Nine becomes ten, 2011 becomes 2012, and round and round it goes, spiraling upward.  But the truth of this world is that all of Time is counting down to the day of the Lord – as even Moses prophetically attests!

Return, O LORD!  How long?

Such a question!  We live within this question – whole lives of men have passed within this question, as Time marches to its perfection at the day of the Lord.

If I am to number my days aright, I must admit (as Moses the man of God admitted) that the number of my days is ticking downward.  How do I live by this reality, though I do not know the exact number remaining?  One way is to live eagerly.

We wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies.  For in this hope we were saved. 

For through the Spirit, by faith, we ourselves eagerly wait for the hope of righteousness. 

And just as it is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment, so Christ, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time … to save those who are eagerly waiting for him.

I ask myself if my life is characterised by an eagerness, and find myself convicted.  God, put in my heart an eagerness which cannot be confused with mere passion or zeal but has a firm clear object to its hope!  Your day is coming; Your day is my eager hope.

In the passages above, there is no separate word for “eagerly” – the single word fully means “wait eagerly.”  We are waiting, as Moses did, asking God how long until that day.  But this waiting is not idleness; it shapes our actions and our speech.  The works of our hands – those things that we commit our hearts and hands to – will be affected by this waiting.  For when we surrender to Christ, we surrender also to His calendar.

I want to live eagerly, live by countdown.

Lord, teach me to number my days that I may get a heart of wisdom.

(Scriptures drawn from Psalm 90, Romans 8, Galatians 5, and Hebrews 9.)

 

 

David Ritterbush is a nobody. He believes Christ and occasionally forgets. David has volunteered with Transform Student Ministry since 2006, and happened to meet his wife there.

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