I have subscribed to the newspaper for nearly 30 years. Though I have enjoyed your news and editorial content, I have noticed a disturbing trend in the obituaries. In years past, this column was predominantly filled with memorials to old people; however, in recent years it has been filled with people my own age. Anything you can do to rectify this unsettling trend would be greatly appreciated.
The tongue-in-cheek sentiment of this fictional letter points out a tendency that we all share. Unless we intentionally guard against it, we forget or ignore the fact that our life is coming to an end. We do not merely live our days; we spend them. At some point we will run out of days to spend. This is not a call to panic but to wise stewardship.
So teach us to number our days
that we may get a heart of wisdom.
The psalmist, Moses, understands this shared tendency and directs his prayer to God. He prays to be taught. Teaching involves a process. God, as the teacher, is active in the process, but the student must be active too. If we are to “get a heart of wisdom,” we must study what God teaches us in the mathematics of life.
This new year will bring some joys, some sorrows, and probably a lot of what we are tempted to call the mundane. We need to remember that we are in God’s classroom. We must ask ourselves each day, “What is my heavenly Father teaching me today?” Our textbook is the Bible, and our lives the homework. Each day is a story problem. Each problem is uniquely ours, and it makes up a portion of a greater story that will reach a conclusion. Just like we memorized our multiplication tables, the Pythagorean theorem, and other foundational principles of mathematics, we need to have the foundation of God’s word in our hearts in order to respond to life correctly.
If you have not already been a student of the Bible, start today. As believers in Jesus, we have the Holy Spirit dwelling in us to guide us. Our heavenly Father is not trying to stump us; he wants us to excel. He wants us to “get a heart of wisdom.”