We are now about one week into the second half of the baseball season, and that means the countdown to the end of the season is underway—and with it the pressure is on to the full. For proven teams on top of their divisions, like the Rangers and Yankees, it is one less day to pad their leads. For upstart teams like the Pirates and Nationals, it is one less day to have to hold off the teams trying to dislodge them from their perch atop the division. But for teams fighting for post-season slots, it is one less opportunity to impact their season and its ultimate outcome. The battles that await have less and less margin for error as each day passes. The wins seem to lift them a little higher, and the losses seem to weigh so much more than they did in April. What remains in the second half is an all-out battle for postseason berths that can define the season as a success when they are won. But the loss of those playoff slots can plunge a team and its fans into an off-season of disappointment. Somehow, though all 162 games count the same in the record books, second-half battles feel more critical and more important. There is just too much at stake to waste the dwindling number of chances that are left.
What is true of a baseball season is also a metaphor for what’s true in life. When you are young, it seems you have the whole world ahead of you, complete with a limitless supply of time. Wasting a day here or there doesn’t matter much, because there are plenty of them yet to be cherished and enjoyed. But, as you get older, each day gains greater worth and higher value because you understand that there are less of them ahead of you than there are behind you. It’s believed that Moses was in his old age when he wrote Psalm 90, where we read: “Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom” (v.12).
Here in the States, we tend to number our years, but Moses says we are to number our days. Why? That “we may gain a heart of wisdom.” Wisdom reminds us of the value of each day. Wisdom helps us see the times of our lives as the gift that they are. Wisdom lifts us out of the mundane, routine approach to day-to-day living and reminds us that each day stretches before us as an opportunity to please the Savior and influence others.
As someone in the “second-half battles” of life, I find Moses’ words to be a challenge that is both meaningful and convicting. “Teach us to number our days” is more than just ancient wisdom, it is a daily reminder of the priceless gift of every new day.
Bill Crowder, Sports Spectrum Chaplain