So teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom. (Psalm 90:12 ESV)
IN 1522, THE journey begun by Ferdinand Magellan ended as his crew made it back to Spain, accomplishing the first circumnavigation of the world.
I think of how they must have been elated to see their homeland once again, the celebrations that must have ensued and the joy seen in the faces of the families reunited after three long years at sea.
Then I think of how, in the days that followed, mass confusion befell the crew.
As if they passed through a time warp, they found themselves in a world that insisted that it was Thursday, when their calendars and accounting of the days gone by said it was Wednesday.
Where had the lost day gone? Now, of course, as sophisticated 21st-century educated people, we know all about the time change as you move around the world.
We witnessed it as most major news programs showed clips of the celebrations of the year changing first in Australia, Nepal, Germany, Paris, United Kingdom and then regions across the U.S. from east to west.
Yes, we know all about the International Date Line, established in 1884, and how a starting point in time needed to be established to make sense of all time zones around the world.
We may know that, but in 1522 in Spain, Ferdinand’s crew were left feeling robbed of a day of their lives.
Ferdinand’s crew may have felt like they missed a day, made some sort of mistake or were left puzzled, but you I and have no excuse for losing days of our lives.
We have no excuse, but losing track of what day it is seems to be an ever-increasing epidemic among all age groups.
The other day, my wife and I were eating at a restaurant, and I happened to glance over at the table to our left and then to our right.
At one table sat two couples of retirement age. They had just finished ordering their food and drinks and now had their phones out, silently amusing themselves.
At the other table, there was a young family, a father, mother and their two teen and tween-age children.
I am just guessing, but Dad seemed to be checking his email, Mom looked as if she was responding to a text and the kids were playing games … each on their own phones.
I remember when parents and grandparents complained about missing too much of their children’s and grandchildren’s lives because of work and unavoidable circumstances.
But now it is as if so many of us have lost the sense of how precious time really is and how much value each day has.
Who could blame us, though? With news coming at us from every angle, even waking us up in the middle of the night with alerts on our tablets, computers and phones, the media has us racing through time, constantly inundated and not giving us any down time.
We seem to always have our attention focused toward the future and the possible needs, wants or losses that might happen in the days to come.
The fact is, we have become distracted so easily, overwhelmed constantly and worn down completely, that we lose track of the days we live.
Each day seems to blur with the next, and we simply float through life while things happen around us and to us instead of living life intentionally with thankfulness.
It really disturbs me when people say the individuals in the Bible, like that of Moses 3,500 years ago, were primitive, knuckle-dragging, stargazing know-nothings.
Moses may have been an aged shepherd who lived thousands of years ago, wandering in the wilderness, but he also penned the words above from the book of Psalms.
Sure, we are intellectual powerhouses of the 21st century, but for some reason, we cannot keep one of the most basic of thoughts in our minds: to number our days, realizing how few we have and how precious each one is.
More than that, to know that our Lord is the one who is caring for each of our days.
As it once was said, “We might not know what each day holds, but we know who holds each day.”
He, our Lord, promises to provide you with what you need to face the challenges of the day, one day at a time (Matthew 6:24-34).
The greatest gift he, our Lord, has given is himself.
In the Incarnate Christ, Emmanuel, Jesus, we have been given forgiveness and eternal life.
Be assured, there is nothing that 2017, or any year for that matter, which can take the precious gift of Christ and your redemption from you.
That alone is worth pausing each day and contemplating the magnitude of the blessing we share.
So put the phones down. Turn off your computer. Unplug your TV. Take back your life. Stop missing your life.
Your life has been purchased, won and made new through the sacrifice of the one who would not be distracted, overwhelmed or worn down.
Take back your each and every day.
Stop taking things as they come, stop wasting the precious time we have but meet the circumstance of the day fueled by God’s truth and the identity you have in him.
Stop missing the days of your life that are flooded with the many blessings of God.
Learn to count your days so that you may have a heart of wisdom.
Make this year, 2017, a year lived one day at a time in the Christ, giving thanks in all circumstances for how our Lord carries us from one moment to the next.
Issues of Faith is a rotating column by five religious leaders on the North Olympic Peninsula. The Rev. Patrick Lovejoy is minister of St. Matthew Lutheran Church in Port Angeles. He can be contacted at 360-457-4122 or pastor [email protected].