Monday, October 21, 2013

October 20, 2013 - From Our Heart to God's: Psalm 90 - Where Has the Time Gone?

Psalm 90:1-4, 10, 12, 14-17

This is a very interesting video clip.  It puts our time in this life into perspective in a very creative way –
We have, on average, 28,835 days in this life (that’s 79 years).  Here’s how we spend those years –
8,477 – sleeping.
1,635 – eating, drinking, and preparing meals.
3,202 – working.
1,099 – commuting and traveling.
2,676 – watching TV.
1,576 – taking care of household duties and shopping
   564 – taking care of the needs of family members.
   671 – bathing and grooming.
   720 – involvement in community activities.
This leaves us, out of 28,835 days, only 8,215 to do what we want.  How will we spend them?

As we continue our series of message from the book of Psalms – From Our Heart to God’s – this morning we are studying the 90th psalm, and Where Has the Time Gone?  Sometime today you will ask yourself a question related to time – where has the time gone?  How can I better manage my time?  Why am I so busy?  Rarely a day goes by that we do not ask ourselves a question about the rush of time.

And after we get a certain number of years behind us, and realize just how fast the time passes, we better understand what verse four says – for a thousand years in your sight are like a day that has just gone by.  At some point in life, when we look back on so many years, we feel as if it were just a matter of days.

If you are feeling crunched for time, or find yourself wondering where the time has gone or is going, listen to the 90th psalm this morning.
But before I move onto the points for this morning, allow me to add one caveat to this message – while we live busy lives, there are others who do not.  They are the residents of nursing homes, assisted-living centers, and hospitals.  They are the shut-ins and homebound members of our community.  While we wonder how we will cram all of our activities into our busy schedules, they watch the clock move slowly each day, wondering when they will be visited.  We must not forget these individuals.

1.  Be thankful for our time.
Verse 17 – may the favor of the Lord our God rest upon us.

Instead of complaining about having so much to do, and having to choose between so many things in our lives, think of it this way – all of what we have in life that asks of our time is a sign of our blessed lives.

We have a lot of choices in life.  There are millions of people in this world who have no choices as to how they will use their time.  Their time goes to scratching out a barely subsistent existence.  They hope to find a bit of work to earn some money to feed their families.  They hope to earn a bit of money to provide more shelter than the crumbling, leaking home in which they live.  They hope to find some way to educate their children so their children will have a better life.  They wish they could provide medical care for when their children suffer from what to us would be just a minor infection, but to them becomes a life-threatening situation.  They wish they could turn on a faucet and have hot or cold water immediately at their disposal, instead of walking miles to a well for a few gallons of water they must then carry back to their home.  They wish they could turn a thermostat and heat or cool their homes to provide a measure of relief from the elements.  They wish they had a vehicle that could transport them to a store and the money to purchase items needed by their family.

But very few, if any, of those things are available, and their time goes into trying to maintain their meager existence, because the residents of 41 countries, on average, will not live to my age.  41 countries!  (By the way, the United States is 48th on the list of life expectancy, with an average of 78 years – Andorra is number one, with 84 ½ years.  Andorra is bordered by France and Spain).

2.  Make our time count.
Verse 12 – Teach us to number our days aright, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.

I read a rather strange article the other day.  The article reported on a very unusual watch.  This watch told regular time, but also another kind of time – how much longer you could expect to live.  You entered some information about your life and medical history and it would estimate your life span, and the watch literally begins ticking down your remaining days.

I’m not sure I want that watch, but I have to admit, it would probably make us think very carefully about how we use our time.

To number our days, as the psalmist says, is to take an inventory of the time we have.  Good gracious I don’t want to spend 2,676 days watching TV.  That’s almost 7 ½ years!

We are always seeking ways to “better use” our time, or to use our time “more efficiently.”  The real question, however, is this – are we giving our time to the things that matter most?  It doesn’t matter how efficiently we are using time if we are giving our time to things that really don’t matter.

3.  Why are we so busy? 
Verse 14 – Satisfy us in the morning with your unfailing love, that we may sing for joy and be glad all our days.

I know, of course, why we are so busy; at least why we’re busy on the surface.  I know we are busy with work and household responsibilities and getting our children from one activity to another.  But still I ask the question, why are we so busy?

I ask the question because I have a suspicion that we create a certain amount of busyness in our lives for a couple of reasons.  Perhaps we are avoiding something.  Perhaps we don’t want to confront a difficult situation so we keep moving.  Perhaps we don’t even want to think about a particular situation or particular issue, so we run and run to the point that we don’t have time to think.  Perhaps we keep ourselves busy because we don’t want to face an aimlessness or emptiness in our lives that would surface if we slowed down for a few minutes.

So we run and run, when perhaps we really don’t need to run nearly so much.  But in running we find we can avoid so much.

Are you running from something?  Are you avoiding something?

4.  It’s never to late to start anew.
Verse 13 – Have compassion on your servants.

I’m not a very good golfer, so I am grateful for a handicap that adjusts my score, and I’m grateful for mulligans, when I can take another shot.

Wouldn’t it be nice to get a do-over, a mulligan, in life?

It’s never too late to start anew.

I’ve heard many people say it’s too late for me to start over.  It’s never too late!  One of the beautiful elements of God’s compassion is that he gives us a new start.  Lamentations 2:22-23 tells us Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail.  They are new every morning.

There are some basic truths about time – it is very fleeting, it is very precious, and we don’t know how much time we will have.

Of my estimated 28,835 days I have lived right at 20,500, give or take a few.  I have lived 71% of my estimated life span, with about 8,300 days left.

Time goes by quickly.  Are you making the most of your time?  What can you learn from psalm 90?

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