Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom (Psalm 90:12 NIV).
With the beginning of a new year, I’m reminded of
the hymn lyrics, “Time, like an ever rolling stream, Bears all its sons away;
They fly, forgotten, as a dream Dies at the opening day” (from “O God, Our Help
in Ages Past”).
That hymn, written by Isaac Watts in 1719 and based on
Psalm 90, gives expression both to the brevity of life, with its feeling
of the march of time, and to the only source of real peace and security.
With every new year we have the opportunity to take up the counsel of Psalm
90 and reflect on the brevity of our lives.
A heart of wisdom recognizes the brevity of life and
seeks to focus on that which really matters. Jesus is the one who tells us
what matters. He says, “Store up for yourselves treasures in heaven”
(Matthew 6:20), and St. Paul says that only three things really last,
“faith, hope, and love” (1 Corinthians 13:13).
This year our goal should be to grow in these things that
last, these things that get stored up in heaven. We should seek to grow in
faith. We should commit to put ourselves in the place where we are promised
to be given faith. In our church we call these things means of grace–most
simply the word centered in Christ and the sacraments presenting him to us and
in which he’s promised to be present.
Our growth in faith leads to a life of love. Faith
begins to motivate us to want to be like Christ and produces in us the
character of Christ, the fruit of the Spirit. The more we act in love, even in
the face of opposition, the more our character is transformed, and we see the
lasting change. It’s this lasting change that Paul says is the cause of our
hope (Romans 5:4). Why? Because we recognize God’s eternal purpose is to
make us like his Son. We are to be drawn up into that relationship which is
Father, Son, and Holy Spirit and which never ends.
That hope is an anchor for our souls (Hebrews
6:19); that is, in the fast-moving stream of life, with all its ups and downs,
we are secure in the knowledge of our eternal destiny. Nothing in this life is
certain. Everything can change in an instant, but everything done in faith
will last forever.
My prayer for you in this new year is that you would grow
in the assurance of things hoped for. My prayer is that you would grow
New Year’s Blessings!