"Teach Us to Number Our Days"

When I was 17, I read a quote that went something like: 'If you live each day as if it was your last, someday you’ll most certainly be right.' It made an impression on me, and since then, for the past 33 years, I have looked in the mirror every morning and asked myself: 'If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?' And whenever the answer has been ‘No' for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something.”

–Steve Jobs


So teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom. 

–Psalms 90:12


Procrastination is a habit that plagues many people. I was going to do some research to find out exactly how many people in the U.S. are affected by procrastination, but I never got around to it. But I’m sure that lots and lots of people struggle with procrastination. Unfortunately, those of you lucky ones out there who do not struggle with procrastination may not understand those of us who do.

Whether or not you are a procrastinator, you may enjoy a TED talk called "Inside the Mind of a Master Procrastinator” by Tim Urban. It’s very humorous, but he makes some good points about the brevity of our lives and how that should impact how we live. Here’s the video:

Procrastinators have difficulties doing things that they know they need to do: homework, chores, exercise, paying bills, etc. Sometimes they rationalize their way out of doing things today. "Maybe I’ll feel like doing it tomorrow. I’ll get started then.” Later they find out that you will almost never feel like doing what you ought to do. Other times, they know it doesn’t make sense to put things off. But they do it anyway because they would rather do something fun and not think about the consequences of missing a deadline.

Now this is fun to joke about, but procrastination can have some serious spiritual implications. What happens when we put off the really important things in life, such as having a personal relationship with Jesus? Relationships require time, which means that in order to have a relationship with God we must make time for him.

I’ve lost count of the number of people who have told me that they really want to get back to church, or that they really want to start reading the Bible daily and praying regularly. But days and months go by without any change in their lives.

Steve Jobs’ bout with cancer helped him realize that his time on earth was very short. He didn’t know how much time he had left, so he worked energetically to make the most of every opportunity he had. Neither do we know how much time each of us has left on earth. We don’t know when Jesus will return, and personally we don’t even know what could happen to us tomorrow. This stark reality should help us recognize that today is all that is guaranteed to us. We can’t change the past, and we cannot predict the future.

Have you been procrastinating spiritually? Have you been thinking about getting to know God better? Are you wanting to take God more seriously and follow wherever he leads? Then why wait? Take the first step right now.

For he says, “In a favorable time I listened to you, and in a day of salvation I have helped you.” Behold, now is the favorable time; behold, now is the day of salvation.

–2 Corinthians 6:2