2002-06-12 - Gotti Gotten
Psalm 90:12 So teach us to number our days, that we may present to You a heart of wisdom.
On Monday, June 10, 2002, the "Dapper Don" John Gotti died in prison from cancer at the age of 61. As I read the Associated Press article reporting his death, I was interested to learn that he had only been the leader of the mob in New York City for six years before he was arrested and convicted for murder. Six years? Is that all? What kind of a legacy is that? Just six years of nice suits and mild control over a group that is largely uncontrollable. I could only think about how much more significant and lasting is the legacy of a Christian, any Christian, because of the grace of Christ. I also have concluded that the mob would not be a wise occupational move.
So what does the above verse in Psalm 90 mean when it says, "Teach us to number our days?" I will give you three things that it means. It may mean more, but I am sure of these three. Simply put, numbering our days means that:
However, there is more to the above verse than simply numbering our days. There is a reason for numbering our days. It is so that we may present to the Lord a heart of wisdom. So we might ask how it is, that, knowing we only have a few years, should lead us to a heart of wisdom? It dovetails somewhat with the above. Wisdom will lead us to see that there is little time left for us to do things that will glorify God. Wisdom teaches us that it is foolish to use our time in things that have no temporal or eternal value to them. And lastly, maybe even painfully, wisdom tells us how we have used time in the past to no profit, and how we have neglected to serve Christ with our past time. A wise heart would seek to right this wrong path.
The 16th century Reformer Martin Luther translated this verse into the German common tongue loosely, as follows. "Let us remember that we must die, in order that we may be wise." In a sense, he got to the heart of the meaning. Life is short and uncertain (especially if you are in the Mob). If we act like life is going to go on indefinitely, we show ourselves to be fools. I will be the first to admit that this next statement applies to me greatly. I, and think it is a "we," often live life in the present, with little thought to living life with a future, heavenly mentality. It is a discipline to live life with a heavenly mindset, but I am convinced that this is wisdom, and it is what the Lord would have us do.
We measure our lives and time in two manners. The first way we understand this is in minutes, hours, days, months, seasons, years, and so on. The second way is in the manner of events that we experience in our lives and in time. We all understand the first, I think, but the second is a little more elusive. However, there are defining moments in our lives, both individually and as a culture. As a culture, we can point to the bombing of the World Trade Center as a defining moment, and that may also help settle the concept of how events define our individual lives in time.
There are also moments of individual definition that we all experienced and probably will experience again in the future. I would encourage you to take some time (Make a note to do it. Notes to self can be a great thing.), when you can get a few hours alone and away, and reflect on your use of time, in light of eternity. If you really take this task on seriously, it could be one of those defining events in your life. To live in the light of eternity will change your life, and there can be no better change than a revival of our walks with Christ and the restoration of our souls to live up to our salvation in Christ.
Psalm 85:6,7 Will You not Yourself revive us again, that Your people may rejoice in You? Show us Your lovingkindness, O Lord, and grant us Your salvation.
Soli Deo Gloria,