The beginning of a new year is an opportunity to reflect on what has been accomplished during the previous year and to plan for a successful new one. The year 2022, with all its sadness and joy, has gone, and 2023 is upon us. The question is: How will we live our lives in 2023? Are we simply going to count another year and occupy space, or will we make a difference in someone’s life? Is this a year to accumulate the “things of this world” or a new opportunity to labor for the “inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade” (1 Peter 1:4, NIV)?
Moses was a seasoned and experienced leader, full of years when he wrote Psalm 90. He begins by acknowledging the love, grace, and eternal nature of God for His children over the ages. “Lord, you have been our dwelling place throughout all generations. Before the mountains were born or you brought forth the whole world, from everlasting to everlasting you are God”—Psalm 90:1, 2 (NIV).
At the heart of the Psalm is verse 12, which establishes the difference between God, who is from everlasting to everlasting, and us, who are finite, mortal beings. It says, “Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom” (NIV).
When I read this verse, three points come to mind:
1. Our days are numbered. While our awesome God is infinite and has been our refuge from everlasting to everlasting, that is not the case for us. We are finite like grass that “in the morning it springs up new, but by evening it is dry and withered” (verse 6). The fact of the matter is we are not here forever.
2. We do not know when our last day will be. We do know that our life is in God’s unchanging hand. As we live our numbered days on this earth, depending on our choices, our hearts will either grow in wisdom and insight or in the ways of this world. If we make foolish choices, we will focus more on ourselves and our selfish temporal desires. If we grow in wisdom, we will concentrate more on helping others in their need of eternal salvation.
3. In the same way that 2022 came and is now history, we, too, will one day be relegated to the annals of history. While the things we do with our time may not necessarily lengthen our lives, our daily choices can often improve the quality of our lives. Abraham Lincoln is attributed to have said: “In the end, it’s not the years in your life that count. It’s the life in your years.”
Applying our heart to wisdom leads us to focus on things of eternal value rather than living our lives based on self-centered, temporal, and worldly ideals. Self will never be satisfied, and self-focus will continually make us miserable and discontented. When we focus on helping others and their eternal needs, our hearts will overflow “with an inexpressible and glorious joy” (1 Peter 1:8, NIV). With the inexplicable joy also comes the “peace of God, which surpasses all understanding” (Philippians 4:7, NKJV).
My New Year’s wish for each of you reading this Gleaner is that you will choose to apply your life to wisdom. No matter what comes your way, may this year bring you joy that is anchored in the Lord and not shaken by the temporal circumstances of life. May this year bring you and your family the peace of God that surpasses all understanding.