I’m not sure if that makes me unusual or not, but I have always been intrigued by how quickly time goes by! So it didn’t surprise me when one evening when I was sitting on the front porch I came to start pondering on time. The thought struck me that if my life-span could be viewed as a 24 hour clock, what “time” would it be for me right now. When thoughts like that enter my brain, I have to figure it out. I don’t know why but I just do. And so after one restless night where I was trying to do the math in my head while I should have been sleeping, I figured it out.
If the life-span is a generous 88 years old, then it’s about 22 years for every 6 hours on the “life-span clock.” The first 22 years are from midnight to 6 am; those represent the part of life in which we are being prepared for whatever the bulk of our lives will be spent doing. The twelve hours on the “life-span clock, from 6 am to 6 pm, represent the next 44 years are all the things of life: working, rearing children, being “grown ups” and doing all the things that we do. At age 66, we arrive at the evening of life, from 6 pm until midnight. That is the time when we can rest from the work of the day. There are still many things for us to do, no doubt, but they are things that are different and perhaps not be paid for. We can ideally be more selective in what we want to or have to do.
Right now, as near as I can figure it and assuming a long full rest of my life, it’s a few minutes before 6 pm for me. It’s the evening of my life. Now I know that there is much left to do, just like there is always much to do when we get home in the evenings. But it’s also time to shift gears and do things at home. That’s why as a Council we will start talking about the plans for the church in the next few years as I ponder my retirement. I’ll be doing that sooner than expected because of Claire’s health. We want to be able to enjoy our evening before the storms of life come again and we can’t get out like we used to do.
Now I know that Moses was not thinking of a western style clock when he asked God to teach him to number his days, but God is teaching me in that simple image to number my days. I’ve gained some perspective and now I pray that God will give me a heart of wisdom to know the best way to finish out my days and “day.”
And there is one more critical thing to add lest this sounds very grim. For you see there is another day that follows this “day.” The stroke of midnight in our time means the beginning of another day. The stroke of midnight in our life-clock means a new day and it will be a far, far better day. And that day will be eternal. So we learn to number our days here now as we anticipate the eternal day that is coming because of Jesus.