Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Number Your Days

(I signed up to receive a daily e-mail devotional from Joni Eareckson Tada.

Today’s thought by Joni is below.
My comment and poem on a similar Scripture verse follows. Leona Choy)

"Teach us to number our days aright, that we may gain a heart of

- Psalm 90:12
I have this habit of numbering my days: When I wake up in the morning,

I make a point of thinking, "Lord, this day is worth a thousand years of
eternity and that means that the people I meet, the letters I write, the
conversations I have... these all have value in Your sight. Teach me to
measure each moment."

I haven't cultivated this habit overnight. Because of all the things to be
counted, this is the hardest - to number our days. We number everything
else so easily. We know how much money we have in our purse and how
many dollars in the bank. Farmers number their sheep and cattle.
Restaurants number meals served in a week. Teachers check off
attendance records. Gardeners can tell you how many tomato plants
are in the backyard.

Yet we find it hard to number something so precious as our days.
Perhaps that's because we see our days stretching on and on. They
seem infinite and so there is no need, we think, to number them. Things
we fail to account for, we waste. That's why it is wise to ask God to
teach us to consider each day separate from the next, distinct in its
purpose, unique in the way it is to be lived.

James 4:14 says, "What is your life? You are a mist that appears for
a little while and then vanishes." And if we need another reminder,
Isaiah 40:6-7 says, "All men are like grass. The grass withers and the
flowers fall, because the breath of the Lord blows on them. Surely the
people are grass." When we finally arrive in heaven, we will be surprised
by many things, but nothing will amaze us more than how short life on
earth really was.

  You have written this day in Your book, Lord, so teach me to spend it

wisely for Your glory.
 Joni and Friends 
Taken from Diamonds in the Dust. Copyright © 1993 by Joni Eareckson Tada.

Used by permission. Zondervan Publishing House, Grand Rapids, Michigan 49530

Children learn to paint by filling in numbers that correspond to colors on a canvas stamped with a pre-printed image. The result appears to be a masterpiece painted by a novice—however, a gifted artist designed it beforehand to make it easy for the beginner.

“Lord, however many years You will grant me to live, I’ll always be Your child. Forgive me for being so presumptuous to demand anything from Your generous, loving heart. I surrender myself to do Your will and fulfill the purpose for which You gave me life and opportunity and sufficient number of days and years to paint a masterpiece for You. I am content to “paint by number” for Your glory according to Your predestined plan and time until You are pleased to call my painting “Finished!”


Leona Choy

"God, I demand a canvas big enough

on which to paint all my ambitions.

Make it a durable piece of cloth.

Provide me with a spacious studio.

I require a complete spectrum of colors.

And I must have quality oil paints.

Plenty of time is essential

to accomplish my life's masterpiece."

Instead, God provided me a fragile easel,

a small palette of primary water colors,

and confined me to a cramped room

without a sure promise

that I'd even have threescore and ten years

in which to emblazon my dreams

on a miniature, disposable canvas.

"That isn't fair, God!" I complained.

He answered my arrogant presumption:

"My Beloved Son, in only thirty-three years

in an obscure corner of an oppressed land

among hostile people and misunderstanding friends

without media blitz and modern tech assistance

reconciled heaven and earth

interpreted Eternity to man

and declared, 'IT IS FINISHED!'"

I fell as His feet ashamed of my impertinence.

"Lord of my days! Accept my praise

for whatever You grant me in this life.

Help me understand Your perfect plan

for mortal man—and for me.

I will accept joyfully and soberly

both my limitations and opportunities.

So teach me to number my days

that I might apply my heart

unto wisdom and learn

to paint by their number.”