“Infinite options distract us from the opportunities to love and serve in tangible and concrete ways that are already before us.”
Thoughts from daily Bible reading for today – December 1, 2022
So teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom. Psalm 90:12, ESV
When I was in my early 20s, fresh out of seminary and ready to “take the world” for Jesus, I worked for a wise and seasoned pastor in his early 70s. Though I learned countless lessons about life and ministry from this dear saint of God, as I reflect today on the words of Psalm 90, I’m reminded of a conversation we had in the first few weeks of my coming to work for him. “Tripp,” he said, “when you’re young, life feels like an ever-expanding horizon, with infinite time and options at your disposal. Yet a day will come when that horizon reaches its expansive limit, and then you increasingly will feel the narrowing reality and fleeting nature of your life. This happens to all of us, yet the wise are able to see it coming long before it arrives!”
As my children grow older and my hairline continues to recede, with each passing year these words ring all the more true. My life is but a breath, here today and gone tomorrow (Psalm 144:4). The decisions I’ve made and investments in people and places have shaped who I am and by necessity limited the trajectory of my life. I’ll never be a neurosurgeon, nor will I know what it’s like to spend my youth in the heart of a city. But, I do know what it’s like to spend my twenties and thirties serving a community as a pastor while learning the way of humility, repentance, and grace as I loved my wife and we together raised three young children.
For most people reading these words, the limits of your life are already set, and this is very good news! Infinite options and possibilities are not, in truth, a gift, for they distract us from the opportunities to love and serve in tangible and concrete ways that are already before us. You have a job in which you can serve faithfully and model humility, honesty, and hard work. You already have friends and family that need you to be present to them and invested in the details of their lives. You have a community in which you can be fully present and engaged.
For most of us, wisdom is found in embracing the limits of our lives. Looking for greener pastures or new adventures often brings with it more harm than good, for it severs us from our history and breaks the continuity of our stories. Even as you number your days, delight as well in the limited nature of your life. There are a handful of people and just one or two communities that need you to give them everything you have to give. Go deep and reap the rewards of a limited life!
Father, as I number my days, help me to see the people and specific places you have called me to, and give me the courage to be fully present to them, through Christ our Lord. Amen.
What does it look like for you to embrace and more fully live a limited life?
Young Oceans with Amanda Cook: Light of Your Love
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