If you were to be given a total of one million dollars at the rate of one dollar per second, how many days would it take for you to collect all of it? Of course, the mathematicians amongst us would have correctly calculated—Eleven and a half days. Naturally, we are all likely to think that that is a lot of money, but we are less likely to think of eleven and a half days as being a lot of time.
The old adage, “Youth is wasted on the young,” is usually said by older, wiser people who look back on too much time wasted. However, common sense dictates that it is the combination of time, experience, and lessoned learned that brings forth wisdom. Thus, scripture admonishes us to seek God’s help to make the most of our limited time.
“Teach us to number our days aright, that we may gain a heart of wisdom” (Psalm 90:12)
This is not to say that all wisdom is gathered after the fact. We take it for granted that the Psalmist isn’t suggesting that a young man learn from failed experience when he asks: “How can a young man keep his way pure?” Instead, he points to the source that, if heeded, will guarantee both purity and wisdom from the outset. That being: “By living according to your word” (Psalm 119:9).
Like a pilot calculating the length of the runway left before take-off, God wants us to calculate the length of our lifespan left before we take-off.
“Our days may come to seventy years,
or eighty, if our strength endures;
yet the best of them are but trouble and sorrow,
for they quickly pass, and we fly away”