Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom. Psalm 90:12 (NIV)
Do you remember as a kid counting down the days until Christmas, summer vacation, a family holiday and yes, even your birthday? (That one’s not so fun to count down to anymore, is it?) As adults we still do it. We might count down the days until our wedding, the birth of our child, or a quick weekend get away with the girls. Some demurely count in their head, some mark an ‘x’ on the corresponding date on the calendar, while others create elaborately decorated charts that serve as daily reminders of the upcoming occasion.
Excitement looms. That feeling of eager anticipation and delight grows deeper as the expectant day draws near. And as morning finally dawns, the thrill of possibility elates us and we can’t wait for the adventure to begin.
When there’s something to look forward to, we become very aware of the time. The days drag on. Tomorrow seems to take forever to come. And the hand on the clock moves slower than molasses. All we want is for time to speed up and the awaited day to come as quickly as possible.
But what happens when there’s no adventure on the horizon? When we’re just going about our normal, everyday busyness? Do we have the same awareness of time?
What if we knew the true value of time? The exact number of our days? Would an authentic awareness of how much time we had left to live change our priorities, passions and desires? Would a genuine understanding that our time here is short change our attitudes, our actions and the work of our hands?
Think about it, if you have a deadline approaching does this knowledge affect your behavior? As the hours pass and setbacks surface, a rearranging of priorities becomes necessary. There’s no time to waste on mundane and meaningless activities. Only what’s important and contributes to your purpose remains.
As Christ followers we have been given a purpose. We have been placed on this earth, at this time for a reason and we’ve been uniquely gifted by our Heavenly Father to live out what He’s called us to do. But, do we live with this purpose in mind? Are we intentional with what we prioritize?
For many of us, the things of this world prioritize our time. We live with an earthly focus, not a heavenly one. We let the busyness of the day guide and direct us. We allocate huge chunks of our time to serving our own agenda and plan. And we set our desires on things that won’t last.
Don’t store up treasures here on earth, where moths eat them and rust destroys them, and where thieves break in and steal. Store your treasures in heaven, where moths and rust cannot destroy, and thieves do not break in and steal. Wherever your treasure is, there the desires of your heart will be also. Matthew 6:19-21
What do you treasure? What are the desires of your heart? Are they here on earth? Or stored in heaven? Will they last? Or fade away? At the end of the day, when all is said and done, will what you focused your time and energy on matter? Will you have lived with purpose?
To answer this question we first have to know what a purposeful life looks like.
Finally, all of you be like-minded [united in spirit], sympathetic, brotherly, kindhearted [courteous and compassionate toward each other as members of one household], and humble in spirit; and never return evil for evil or insult for insult [avoid scolding, berating, and any kind of abuse], but on the contrary, give a blessing [pray for one another’s well-being, contentment and protection]; for you have been called for this very purpose, that you might inherit a blessing [from God that brings well-being, happiness, and protection]. 1 Peter 3:8-12 (AMP)
We are called to love as Jesus loved. To see others through His eyes and have compassion on them. To live our lives serving Christ and serving others.
This is quite contrary to how the world would have us live. In today’s society, we all seem to chase our own gain and look out for our own selfish ambition. We want power, prestige and wealth. We want to climb higher on the ladder of social and financial success.
But Jesus asks us to be poor in spirit, meek and merciful. To be servants in a world that wants to be served. He asks us to humbly lower ourselves as He did in order to lift others up and point them to Christ.
In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death – even death on a cross! Philippians 2:5-8 (NIV)
This is our purpose! To spread the message of Jesus Christ. To be a beacon of light in a darkened world. To bring hope to the lost, healing to the brokenhearted, and life to those who are dead. A life of purpose is a life of sacrifice. Giving up our own wants and desires to serve His.
Our lives will reflect the desires of our heart. When Christ is at the centre, our lives will reflect His. Our wants and desires will align with His. His message will be the motivation behind our actions and our words. His purpose will be lived out in us. And as a result, our lives will be full. Full of blessing, abundant in joy, and rich in love.