I know you’re wondering what am I saying…what is 19,422 days and counting mean? Well, I recently viewed an online interview that stopped me in my tracks and made me think. The man being interviewed was Robert D. Smith and the title of his book is, “20,000 Days and Counting: The Crash Course for Mastering Your Life Right Now.” Without getting into too much detail here the basic idea behind his book is this: What have you done with the first 20,000 days of your life and what will you do the next 20,000 if you live that long? Sounds simple and a bit I’ve-already-heard-this-before-ish. But it was his passion for what he was talking about that drew me to listen. And caused me to go and get the book immediately and start reading. I have not been able to put it down unless I make myself. You may ask why? Is it that riveting? The answer is yes and here’s why. The premise that brought Robert D. Smith to write the book was when he discovered how many days he’d been alive to that point in time and then an awareness of how he had spent those days. Emphasis on SPENT.
We all “spend” time every day doing something. Sometimes that expenditure is worthwhile, even very worthwhile at times. Sometimes it’s a waste and the bottom line is you can never get that wasted time back. It’s gone forever. So this process caused Robert Smith to ponder the next season of life and reminded him of the philosophy he’d lived his life by: what if today were the last day of your life and you knew it…how would that affect your actions…what things would you remove as a “waste” and where would you invest the most. That is really a great exercise to go through. What WOULD you do if this was your last day? That is a great place to ask yourself that question right now. I think you’ll be surprised how clearly you’ll think when given that scenario. You will seem to effortlessly dismiss excess stuff and focus in on what’s important. And the fact is, this is exactly what the scripture tells us in Psalm 39. The writer there says, “A person’s life is like a vapor or smoke…it appears suddenly and then vanishes away.” That’s an interesting concept. Let’s say our lives last what the average is right now, 75 years. That means our 75-year existance is considered a “vapor”. How can that be? 75 years is a long time. How can it be a vapor that’s here suddenly and then gone? Because compared to eternity 75, 90, 100 or even Methuselah’s age at 900+ was a mere cloud of smoke. Wow, that’s a bit mind blowing, huh?
So if that’s the case then considering how I “spend” every day is important especially since I get to choose how I spend it. That brings us back to the title of Smith’s book. He computed when he reached 20,000 days. It was in his 54th year of life. So, if he lives the average (75 years) you can see why 20,000 days is important. He likely will not live another 20,000 unless he makes it to over 100. Why is the number important? Because the scripture tells us in Psalm 90 that we should “number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.” That is why knowing the number is essential and being aware of the number can guide us to making the most out of what we have left in life.
For me that was both convicting and liberating. I can choose from here what I will “spend” time on. I can plan with laser focus how I want the rest of my life to go. I can cast off the things that are non-important and focus on what is: my walk with Christ, using my gifts and skills to the fullest, telling my family I love them every day, experiencing community with those around me, and sharing the gospel through living my life to the best I can. So, what is 19,414 days to me? How much of my life that has already faded away. I will reach 20,000 days on October 21, 2015. I know that number now and am keeping it in front of me every day. I plan to make the most of every day I get between now and then. The question is what is your number and what will you do with the rest of your days? How will you “spend” them? I’d love to hear back what you think about this and how your plan is coming along. I will share more of my own in the future. In the meantime, get Robert D. Smith’s book. It will do more than encourage you.