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Jesus Begins His Ministry

(Mark 1:14-28)

Lesson 2 -- second quarter 1998
March 8, 1998

by Mark Roth
© Copyright 1998, Christian Light Publications

Your life is before you. Have you numbered your days recently? Doing so wisely will accomplish marvelous things for your perspective. Notice the observation and the plea found in Psalm 90:12--"So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom." The world about us offers many things, from evil to noble, to which we may apply our hearts. Numbering our days challenges us to the wise investment of our lives. So count, while your life is yet before you.

John and Jesus were roughly the same age. The time frame for today's lesson has them at the thirty-year mark. Their lives were before them. But in earthly terms, they surely didn't have much before them anymore! Within four years Jesus would be dead; John would perish considerably sooner. What a short span for their "active duty" time, but that didn't matter since each day was well accounted for. I believe that in their cases, to have died young did not at all mean wasted potential.

Number your days! In all likelihood, you are half to two-thirds of the way to thirty. I am already almost a third past it. So as you consider John's death age, Jesus' death age and my still-alive age, you may want to be very generous with numbering your days. It's the "other ones" that die young, right? Sure, that's what almost everyone thinks.

Really now, I'm not trying to be morbid here, nor am I trying to convince any youth that death may be around next month's corner. I do not believe that numbering our days means saying, "OK, I guess I'll figure I have 64 days of life to go" or "I get this feeling I won't live beyond the age of 23." More than anything, it seems numbering our days has to do with accounting instead of mere counting.

When we count, we see numbers. When we engage in accounting, we see balance, production and responsibility. In other words, accounting progresses very naturally to accountability. Therefore, I see that I should number my days along these lines: "Well, I have no idea of the number of days I have left, but I'm going to make each one of those counts. I will consider today and subsequent days investment opportunities for which I shall give an account."

When we take this estimation of numbering our days, we more easily understand today's lesson. No wonder John could be the voice crying in the wilderness, and then lay his voicebox before the soldier's sword. No wonder Jesus could seemingly understand John's imprisonment as the signal to take the baton from John's hand. No wonder Jesus could promptly begin selecting those who would shortly take the baton from His own hand. And no wonder those selected could straightway follow Him. These people numbered their days, choosing to apply themselves to wisdom! Will I dare be different? Will you?

Now let's digress a bit to last Sunday's lesson. Another of the devil's tactics is using our defeats and failures against us. "Well, well, brother Roth -- you haven't been doing too great in the numbering-our-days department, have you? And this applying-our-hearts-unto-wisdom business has gone rather bankrupt, eh? Just look at all the squandered time and all those missed opportunities. Ha! Ha!" Don't listen to such voices, dear friend. Sure, they may be dispensing factual information, but don't let yesterday's failures deprive you of today's and tomorrow's victories! Give your heart to wisdom today!

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