May 28, 2011


Psalm 90:12 Teach us to number our days aright,
that we may gain a heart of wisdom.

It is very interesting that this Psalm is attributed to Moses, since it speaks of 80 years as human lifespan, but Moses himself is recorded to have lived to 120. In any case, however long our lives on earth might be, they are no more than a blink compared to eternity. That’s why this verse is important. Someone during the French Revolution said, “Nothing clears your mind like a sentence of death.” Keeping our own mortality in mind is very important in maintaining a right perspective on things and events. I think that’s the “heart of wisdom” this verse talks about. When our time here is so brief, we need to make the best use of it, preparing ourselves for eternity. As the rest of the Psalm makes clear, since eternity is in God’s hands, preparation means getting right with God. Most young people have very little grasp of their own mortality, and children are even more that way. This isn’t at all to say that we are morbidly to be thinking and talking about death all the time, but it is to say that an awareness of the limitations of physical life is essential, even for children. Some parents don’t want to keep pets, because pets die. That’s a very good reason to keep them! Barring family tragedy, the death of a pet is often the first encounter children have with the concept of death. However, without Christ, there is no hope of eternal life, so this awareness is also a powerful motivation for evangelism. If we don’t want to lose our friends and loved ones eternally, we will do all we can to introduce them to Christ.

Because we kept pets, I’ve been aware of mortality from childhood, but my own mortality has come into much sharper focus as I have gotten older. At this point, it’s only about 16 months until I reach the age at which my father died, of very natural causes. It took me a long time to get serious about training a successor, but thankfully that is happening now. That’s not at all to say that I’m to give up living, even for a moment. Rather, it is to say that I’m to live so that whenever the Lord says it’s time, that will be fine. There are many, many more people I want to see enter the family of God, and I eagerly anticipate being allowed to do so, but I must remember that I can’t do it all personally. My focus must be on training and delegation, raising up disciples for Christ indeed.

Father, thank You for all You are doing. Thank You for the two weeks of inter-generational training we’ve just had. Ann and the boys should be safely in Seattle by now. I pray that all of us would bring away from this time what You wanted to teach us, so that we may indeed have hearts of wisdom, walking in obedience to You for Your glory. Thank You. Praise God!

About jgarrott

Born and raised in Japan of missionary parents. Have been here as an adult missionary since 1981.
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