Posted by: jmark | March 27, 2005

More than numbers

I sat in the intensive care unit one evening and watched numbers counting down as a life slipped away. How unfitting it seemed that life in all its preciousness should be reduced to a few numbers flickering on a screen.

It was all the more poignant because it was the life of a young person that was fading away before me. Life in all its richness, in all its colour, reduced to a few numbers. And the numbers couldn’t even begin to capture the richness of who they really were.

Life can’t be summed up by numbers. But yet so often we choose to do it. We reduce life to numbers. How much money we have, or want to have. How fast a car we have. What size its engine is. How big our hard-drive is. How fast our computer runs. How expensive a house we have. How many children we have. How many hours we work. How much money we earn. How many animals we have. How much weight we have lost, how much we have put on. How many holidays we go on in a year. How many cars we have. How many TVs are in our homes. Numbers, numbers, numbers.

I have seen life reduced to numbers, and seen that there is more to life than that. These verses from Psalm 90 make this point:

Three score and ten the years we see,
Or if by strength fourscore they be,
Their pride is labour, grief, decay;
For soon ’tis gone – we f1y away.
O teach Thou us to count our days,
And set our hearts on wisdom’s ways.

The real meaning of life is not found in numbers, but in what the Bible calls ‘wisdom’ – a life lived according to God’s word. Life is about living God’s way. Does that describe you, or is your life just a collection of numbers?

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