Listen to Thought For The Day on BBC Radio Ulster.

I’ve recently celebrated what you might call ‘a significant birthday’. One that entitles you to use on the bus what is euphemistically called a “Smart Pass”. It brought to mind a conversation I had not long ago when having spoken at a particular event, someone said to me:- “I listen to you on Thought For The Day! You sound much younger than you look!” I’m still trying to work out if I ought to have been pleased or not!

In the Old Testament book of Psalms, Moses writes these words:

“The length of our days is 70 years, or 80 if we have the strength.
Yet their span is but trouble and sorrow for they pass quickly and we fly away”.

I think many of us can agree with that:- But then Moses adds this specific request:-

“Teach us to number our days aright, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.”

In other words it’s no particular virtue to grow old. All somebody has to do for that, according to Groucho Marx, is to live long enough! What is important is what we chose to do with the days that God has given to us.

Let me suggest three smart attitudes that may help us number our days wisely. ‘Thankfulness’, ‘Humility’ and ‘Generosity’.

There are alternative ways to view life:- Resentment over what we don’t have, or Thankfulness for the good things we do have. A heart of wisdom choses thankfulness.

Humility. Again, there are opposite approaches we can adopt. Pride which pushes ourselves forward, or humility that recognizes our fragilities, vulnerabilities and weaknesses. A heart of wisdom choses humility.

And thirdly, Generosity. We can either decide to hold tightly to those things that we consider to be ‘mine’, or else we can chose to use our time, resources and energy to help other people. A heart of wisdom choses the way of generosity.

Three Christ-like attitudes that enable us to ‘number our days wisely’:- So, however we may sound, or look, a threefold ‘Smart Pass’ of Thankfulness, Humility & Generosity to help celebrate a significant birthday!