Week of Monday, August 1 ­– Sunday, August 7
Make It Count - Man as Instructor
“For all our days pass away under your wrath; we bring our years to an end like a sigh. The years of our life are seventy, or even by reason of strength eighty; yet their span is but toil and trouble; they are soon gone, and we fly away. Who considers the power of your anger, and your wrath according to the fear of you? So, teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom.” - Psalm 90:9-12 ESV
Have you ever stared death in the face? Have you ever come to grips with your mortality? Has the realization ever hit you that your days, maybe even your moments, are numbered? I can tell you that I have faced a number of those moments during my time in the military. One of those times had nothing to do with combat or even an enemy force. Actually, it was when I did a routine free fall parachute jump with some Special Operations men at Fort Bragg, North Carolina. Unfortunately, once I pulled the ripcord on my parachute, the result was anything but routine. The main chute and the reserve both deployed at the same time and entangled. Normally that is a death sentence because the jumper has no lift with the two chutes entangled. I was in a world of trouble. So I began to pray that God would spare my life. At that moment, I thought: “This is it Lord…I am about to meet you face to face.” Suddenly I felt the presence of the Lord and He was speaking to me. He simply said: “Greater is He who is in you than he who is in the world” (see 1 John 4:4).
Dropping quickly, the tops of the tall pine trees getting larger in my sight, I kept on praying and braced for impact. I crashed down through the treetops, smashed through the pine limbs and hit the ground hard, but nothing like what I thought was going to happen. I banged my knee on a stump but otherwise I was totally unhurt. I then looked up at my chutes and realized that in the Providence of God the entangled canopies had caught the very top of a couple of tall pines and broke my fall. The rescue team was amazed. They thought they would have to scrape up my remains off the forest floor. But what we all saw was a miracle from God. That day was apparently not the one marked on God’s calendar for me to die.
Now make no mistake. I know that day is coming for me. It is coming for all of us. Moses talks about it here in Psalm 90, the oldest in the book. First, he contrasts the fact that God is eternal: “from everlasting to everlasting you are God” (v. 2) with the fact of our mortality: “You return man to dust and say, “Return, O children of man!” (v. 3). One of these days, unless Jesus comes back first, I will die and my family will plant me in the ground, just as God said. Same is true for you.
Now before we get all depressed about the fact of our mortality and life’s brevity: “The years of our life... are soon gone, and we fly away” (v. 10), let’s make sure we catch the lesson Moses is trying to teach us, so that we can teach it to those in our charge. It is found in v. 12: “So, teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom.” OK, we know our days are numbered, but Moses asked the Lord to teach him how to “number our days.”  
At this point I know some of you Marines are probably thinking that Moses is talking about simply counting days, but I believe he is talking about making our days count. We need to learn how to live every day for maximum kingdom impact. The Apostle Paul put it this way: “Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil” (Eph. 5:15–16 ESV). The bottom line is this: God only gives us so many days on this earth, that’s why God calls us to make every single day count for His glory. 
How do we make that happen? As we will humble ourselves before the Lord, trusting and obeying Him decision by decision and deed by deed, we will acquire the skills needed to live in a God-honoring way. By the way, that is the goal: Gaining skills to live in a God-honoring way. That is what Moses means by gaining a “heart of wisdom.” And guys, wisdom is not meant to be hoarded. It is meant to be shared… imparted to those in your charge. In your role as Instructor, teach them to “number their days” and make them count for Christ!
  • How are you spending the days God has numbered for you? How can you do a better job of making them count for Him? 
  • Are you helping those you love and lead understand their own mortality, life’s brevity, and the need to make the most of every opportunity so that it counts for Christ?
  • Ask God to teach you how to number your days so that you can gain a heart of wisdom.