On March 31, 1979, Jamie Livingston took out his Polaroid camera and took a photo. He continued snapping at least one shot a day until the day he died, October 25, 1997. There are pictures of friends and dinners and quaint artifacts of Jamie’s life. By viewing Jamie’s photographs, we discover that he was a Mets fan and a filmmaker. In early 1997, the photos tell us that Jamie had cancer. The subsequent pictures chronicle his wedding, only a couple weeks before his death. Jamie’s pictures narrate the life of a man wanting to remember his days, each and every one.
Psalm 90, one of Moses’ prayers, provides a similar idea. Moses reflects on the mortality of all humanity, knowing that all of us will one day “return to dust” (Psalm 90:3). Moses also acknowledged the weariness of life, noting how “our years [end] with a groan,” a bone-tired sigh (Psalm 90:9). Free of youthful zeal, Moses must have prayed these words as he noticed his years passing quickly by. Most of us can only expect 70 or 80 years, Moses mused, and then far too soon “they disappear, and we fly away” (Psalm 90:10).
This sounds rather dreary. We don’t like to think of the shortness of life and the nearness of death. There are reasons why we don’t enjoy funeral homes and are uncomfortable talking about dying.
Moses’ response to these raw realities, however, was not discouragement or fear. Moses recognized the brevity of life as a call to action, wise living, and humility before God and engagement with His world. “Teach us to number our days aright,” Moses said, “that we may gain a heart of wisdom” (Psalm 90:12 NIV).
Moses desired for God to help him embrace (not ignore) his human mortality, so that he would make the most of each day he was given.
NLT 365-day reading plan passage for today: Matthew 6:19-34
Turn to the New Testament and read Ephesians 5:15-16. What does Paul’s wisdom add to how we might respond to the limited number of days we’re given?
What is my reaction to the fact that my days are limited? What opportunity should I pursue now if I want to make the most of all my days?