When you see someone holding a jar of marbles, do you think “Are you losing your marbles?” then laugh? I used to think the same.
Numbering Your Days
Then, a mentor shared a story about a jar of marbles that challenged my perspective on life, particularly after witnessing the deaths of my pregnant wife and five-year old son in an accident during a military move. My only wish is that I had understood the concept earlier.
While leading a study tour in Israel, an American named Bill stopped to visit his friend, a Jewish rabbi. Walking into his friend’s office, Bill saw a large glass jar partially filled with a rainbow of colored marbles on his desk. He jokingly asked the Rabbi, “What are you doing? Playing marbles with your disciples?”
With a smile, the Rabbi replied, “No” then continued by quoting Psalm 90:12 (KJV) “So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom.”
Pausing momentarily, the rabbi continued, “After hearing these words, I wanted to have a picture of what ‘numbering my days’ meant. Mulling over the thought, I considered my family tree and how long my grandparents and great-grandparents had lived. Taking a calculated guess on my life expectancy, I determined how many days I already had lived. I then estimated how many days I had left and bought that number of marbles and this jar.
God and Marbles
“Each morning I take a marble from this jar and talk with God. ‘Lord, I bless you for this day. Please help me with all the activities planned for today –the meetings, my classes, etc.’ Putting the marble in my pocket I proceed with the day.
“At the end of the day, I take the marble out and have a ‘debriefing’ time with God. ‘Lord, I bless You for Your help today. Please forgive me for not being patient during the 10 o’clock meeting. I bless You for helping me teach my disciples.’ After praying, I throw the marble away. With each passing day, the level of marbles in the jar slowly decreases giving me a picture – and a reminder — that I’m not getting any more marbles.”
Do you see the same picture? I truly was blown away realizing that I already had squandered many “marbles” in my life – never to get them back. As I continued mulling over this picture, the “blinding flash of the obvious” hit me: based on my “gene pool,” I had less than half of my marbles left! What would I do with my remaining marbles?
I can get more money and things. I can’t get more time. The corollary to this thought struck me: the most precious gift anyone can give is his or her time! (So “Thank you” for sharing your time and reading this article.)
As a lesson learned, I daily carry a marble in my pocket. When I pull out my keys and see the marble I am reminded, “Be wise in how you use today’s marble – yesterday is gone and tomorrow hasn’t arrived.”
Are you “losing” your marbles or are you “using” them wisely?
If you are dealing with this issue, you do not need to face the challenge alone. Jesus has conquered every challenge so you can move from your present situation to a life of overcoming hope. Invite him to lead you in your journey. He will forgive, comfort, and heal you.
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