COUNTING THE DAYS
By Steve Bietz
Well, here comes October, ready or not. Each October I face another Birthday. These days, I find myself remembering what the 60 Minutes correspondent, Andy Rooney, stated in his “A few minutes with Andy Rooney” commentary back in 2006. Andy Rooney said: “If I seem a little down, it’s because I had a birthday recently. Whoever decided “Happy Birthday” was a good thing to say to someone who just got a year older? A birthday doesn’t do anything for the person having it, except remind him or her that they are just one year closer to the end of it all. If you’re 49, why should turning 50 be an occasion for joy or celebration? I think of being old a lot. There are so many things that remind me of it. For instance, mirrors. Looking in the mirror when I first get up in the morning. Looking in the mirror just before I go to bed. Looking in any mirror, any time reminds me of how old I am.”
Mr. Rooney continued a few more minutes with his commentary, but you get the point. He was not a fan of birthday reminders at his age. He was 87 at the time.
I’m 20 years younger than Mr. Rooney as he gave this commentary on the 60 Minutes television program in 2006. But I find that mirrors point out just how many days I’ve been, well, looking in the mirror.
And then I consider what the man Moses wrote in a Psalm, the only Psalm that bears his name. In Psalm 90, Moses prays and asks the Lord: “So teach us to number our days, so that we may gain a heart of wisdom.” (Psalm 90:12) Numbering our days, yes, these days I do that every time I see myself in a mirror. The Bible reports that Moses lived till he was 120 years old, so he had a few more days to count than I suspect all of us.
I’m not sure what Moses thought of celebrating birthdays, but that does not appear to be his point in his prayer we know as Psalm 90. Moses focuses on the lifespan of mankind in that we will return to dust. It’s a call to bring our iniquities to the Lord so that we might be forgiven. The concept of knowing that your days are numbered implies a knowledge that we are finite; that they will one day come to an end unless the Lord returns first. Moses asks God to teach us to count our days so that we should use them wisely and not take them for granted. When God teaches us to number our days, we will be more prone to listen and seek him for wisdom on how to best live our lives. We need God’s wisdom to lead us now and onward into a life that is to come.
Moses also said in Psalm 90, “We finish our years like a sigh.” Are we just tired of counting the days… maybe? We do know that the passing of time means nothing to the eternal God. And if you and I have that wonderful abiding relationship with our Heavenly Father, then He promises to provide us the incomprehensible gift of eternal life. Only God sees the end from the beginning, but we should pray for the grace to act as if we saw the end. We need to meditate on life’s brevity, so that we may be wise in employing the time that God gives us.
Blue Ridge Christian News covers Burke County, McDowell County, Mitchell County, Yancey County, Madison County, in North Carolina, and Christian news from around the country.