Today our eldest son turns forty. My husband and I have been pouring over old photo albums remembering the good times when our children were young – family holidays, birthdays, Christmases long past. How the time has flown! Only last night our youngest son commented that we were both in the vulnerable category for Covid 19. In other words, old. I don’t feel a bit old. I’m enjoying the benefits of being a pensioner but we can’t avoid the fact that my husband will turn seventy one this year, while I’m fast approaching seventy. We don’t know how much time we still have together. We need to value what we have in the present rather than dwell on the past or worry about the future.
In 2014 my husband read an inspiring article about a man who wanted to take seriously the command in Psalm 90, “Teach us to number our days,” (Psalm 90:12a NIV)
This man worked out that if the average person lives to seventy five and there are fifty two weeks in a year, subtracting his current age, he had a thousand weeks left to live. He bought a thousand marbles and put them in a large clear container. Every Saturday he threw one away. As the collection of marbles got smaller, he began to focus on the important things in his life, like his wife and family, making happy memories. The importance of hours spent at the office diminished into appropriate scale.
My husband was inspired to do some calculations of his own and procured five hundred and thirty eight marbles. He doesn’t throw them away each Saturday but rather puts them in a second container to give to our grandson every so often. Since 2014 they have shrunk to about half.
As we lose a marble each week, it behoves us to use wisely the precious time we have left on earth. Is there a task God has for us, a person to love, a difference to make?
Losing our marbles is inevitable. Let’s not waste them!
Lord, teach us to number our days, that we might gain a heart of wisdom…May the favour of the Lord our God rest on us. Establish the work of our hands for us – yes, establish the work of our hands. (Psalm 90:12,17 NIV)