"Teach us to number our days aright," Moses asked God, "that we may gain a heart of wisdom" (Ps. 90:12).

There is a right way to tally up days. There's an arithmetic of timekeeping, and God must tutor us in it. Wisdom is not the condition for learning this arithmetic. It's the fruit of it. Wisdom comes from learning to number our days aright. You don't need to be wise to sign up for God's school. But if you're diligent, attentive, and inquisitive in his classes, you'll emerge that way.

It's easy to get this wrong. God's school is not like most. It's not regimented, age-adjusted, fixed in its curricula. The classroom is life itself; the curriculum, all of life's demands and interruptions and tedium, its surprises and disappointments. In the midst of this, through these things themselves, God hands us an abacus and tells us to tally it all up.


Meaning, work out where time and eternity meet. Pay attention to how God is afoot in the mystery of each moment, in its mad rush or maddening plod. He is present in both. But too often, we are so time-obsessed that we take no time to really notice. I have a pastor friend in Toronto who one day after a Sunday service received a note: "Pastor Peter, I would appreciate it if you prayed shorter prayers. Your pastoral prayer this past Sunday was 12 minutes, 43 seconds in length. Please strive for greater brevity."

The note was unsigned. The only thing we know about this man, woman, or child is that the writer is so bound by time—counting the minutes—that he has never learned to number his days. This person can tell time, but not discern seasons.

Miss that, and you miss wisdom. For only those who number their days aright gain a wise heart. Only they become God's sages: those calm, ...

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