The Number of Our Days

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The Number of Our Days

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I recently received an e-mail which asked me to answer a series of questions in order to determine relatively what my actual age should be in comparison to my biological age. This was based on questions about my lifestyle and habits in order to give me a rough idea of my real age and my life expectancy. As I completed the questions, I finally reached the screen where it gave me the results. It said that my real age was 20 years old, compared to my biological age of 26, and that my life expectancy was 78 years.

Granting that God would allow me to even live as many years as that, what I found more interesting was that it converted my remaining life expectancy into days. It said, “You can expect to live approximately another 19,600 more days.” When I focused on that amount, I was clearly reminded that our lives on this earth don’t last forever. A sense of urgency comes to us as we realize that our physical existence is so very temporary. King David knew this very well. He wrote in Psalms 103:14-16 Psalms 103:14-16 [14] For he knows our frame; he remembers that we are dust. [15] As for man, his days are as grass: as a flower of the field, so he flourishes. [16] For the wind passes over it, and it is gone; and the place thereof shall know it no more.
American King James Version×
, “For he knoweth our frame; he remembereth that we are dust. As for man, his days are as grass: as a flower of the field, so he flourisheth. For the wind passeth over it and it is gone; and the place thereof shall know it no more” (King James Version throughout).

Moses had a similar cry to God knowing that, despite all that was given to him in power and authority to lead God’s people, his life also had to come to an end, and he would not be able to enter the long-awaited Promised Land. He exclaimed with an urgent heart concerning his fragile life in Psalms 90:12 Psalms 90:12So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts to wisdom.
American King James Version×
, “So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom.” Moses knew that taking each day of life and making it count for good was man’s real purpose. I work full—time as a machinist, and I often find myself doing equations and calculations. So, as I continued to think about that number of 19,600 days that I had left to live, I realized that I don’t even have that amount when I consider many other factors.

Do the math

First of all I subtracted all necessary hours that I would need to sleep and work. So let’s systematically do the calculation. You have 19,600 days to live, but when you subtract at least half of that for sleeping and working, you come to roughly 9,800 days. I would assume that, realistically, the average person in North America drives at least 1 to 2 hours per day, which is what I do regularly. So let’s say for sake of argument that we do 1.5 hours per day, multiplied by 365 days a year, divided by 24 hours a day, multiplied by 53 years of life remaining, and you finally get 1,209 days of driving. So then, we can take 9,800 days, subtract 1,209 days, and we get 8,591 days remaining to enjoy life. And considering other factors, depending on your lifestyle, you can easily see how quickly life passes by. It’s not a surprise that King David could say, “For we are strangers before thee, and sojourners, as were all our fathers: our days on the earth are as a shadow, and there is none abiding” (1 Chronicles 29:15 1 Chronicles 29:15For we are strangers before you, and sojourners, as were all our fathers: our days on the earth are as a shadow, and there is none abiding.
American King James Version×
).

We are all at different ages in our lives, but you can hopefully see the picture I’m painting about the short span of our existence. We also must remember that it could end at any moment in time, according to God’s plan and will for our lives. Solomon knew this too. He wrote, “For man also knoweth not his time: as the fishes that are taken in an evil net, and as the birds that are caught in the snare; so are the sons of men snared in an evil time, when it falleth suddenly upon them” (Ecclesiastes 9:12 Ecclesiastes 9:12For man also knows not his time: as the fishes that are taken in an evil net, and as the birds that are caught in the snare; so are the sons of men snared in an evil time, when it falls suddenly on them.
American King James Version×
).

Despite not knowing when we will breathe our last, we can find great assurance that our heavenly Father holds all of our lives in his hand. In Job 34:13-14 Job 34:13-14 [13] Who has given him a charge over the earth? or who has disposed the whole world? [14] If he set his heart on man, if he gather to himself his spirit and his breath;
American King James Version×
, Job makes a profound statement pointing us to the One who knows each moment. He said, “Who hath given Him a charge over the earth? or who hath disposed the whole world? If he set his heart upon man, if he gather unto himself his spirit and breath; all flesh shall perish together, and man shall turn again unto dust.”

24 hours to live?

Let me bring you back to the question that I asked earlier: How would knowing the number of our days influence us in the way we lived our lives today? It may be a clichéd question, but what would you do if you had 24 hours to live? What if that truly became your full reality in this moment? How would you respond, in the way you treat God, and the way you treat your neighbor? Would you come to see what truly matters in each moment that you spend?

I believe that this is the key to redeeming our time—remembering what the purpose of our life is. Solomon, a man of abundant wealth, wisdom, power, and fame, still came to only one conclusion for the purpose of man during his lifetime. He said in Ecclesiastes 12:13 Ecclesiastes 12:13Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man.
American King James Version×
, “Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man.”

A famous country singer by the name of Tim McGraw came out with a song called “Live Like You Were Dying,” which makes some good points. The song’s protagonist, having been told he was dying of a terminal condition, sings that, “I loved deeper, spoke sweeter, and gave forgiveness I was denying.” May we learn to love those unlovable and forgive the unforgivable. Then we can live with a clear conscience and allow our hearts and minds to enjoy life to its fullest.

Turning our days over to God

Although our years of life are few, and our days as a shadow fading away, may we rest and find comfort in the fact that Jesus assures us that this life is not the end, but the beginning. Jesus said to Martha, before he raised Lazarus from the dead, “I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: and whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die. Believest thou this?” (John 11:25-26 John 11:25-26 [25] Jesus said to her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believes in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: [26] And whoever lives and believes in me shall never die. Believe you this?
American King James Version×
).

We must always remember that we can never get back or replace a day that has passed; let us therefore learn from yesterday as hope for the future, but most importantly live in the beauty of this present moment. May we surrender all our days to Him so that He may exchange them for all of eternity. “See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil” (Ephesians 5:15-16 Ephesians 5:15-16 [15] See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, [16] Redeeming the time, because the days are evil.
American King James Version×
).

Further reading

For more on the subject of making the most of your time, see our articles “It’s Time for a Timely Reminder on Time” and “Turning Your Life Around: Where to Start” or request or download our free booklet Making Life Work.

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