Teach us to number our days aright, that we may gain a heart of wisdom. (Psalm 90:12)

I have a living will; it goes like this: If I ever act my age, shoot me. I have a theory that it is possible to live too long, especially if the thrill of living is gone. (Sorry, Mellencamp.) I plan on living until I’m dead, thank you very much. That sounds kind of duh, but I have definitely met people who have passed away before they’ve passed away, if you know what I mean. That would suck.

On the other hand, some people think that living forever would be nifty. No stress, no deadlines, no rush. They would always have time for whatever, even if they never got around to it. I call that a recipe for boredom. We need a game clock to keep things interesting. There’s nothing like a two-minute warning to get you off your assets.

The Psalmist is definitely onto something here. He wants to hear the ticking of the shot clock. It’s not that he wants the game to end; but he doesn’t want to get caught with the ball in his hands when time runs out. Wisdom isn’t whether you make the shot or not; it’s whether or not you take it. If you shoot, there are no guarantees that you’re going to score, but if you don’t toss the ball up, you are most definitely guaranteed not to score.

Most people associate wisdom with conservatism. I don’t mean politics (there was little wisdom there when I last checked). I mean that wisdom gets associated with playing it safe. What a crock. When the clock is ticking, wisdom tells you to go for it, baby. You may lose your shorts big time, but you have to risk it.

Jesus tells the parable about three servants who are given investment money by their master. One guy gets five bucks, one gets three bucks, and one gets a single buck. The first two guys put the money to work—they take a calculated risk—and each doubles their money. The dweeb with one buck digs a hole and buries it, afraid to risk it. When the master gets back, he promotes the first two and reams the dweeb like nobody’s business. Moral of the story: Don’t be a dweeb.

Miss Frizzle, of the animated kids’ show The Magic School Bus, says it all: “Take chances, make mistakes, get messy!” Listen gang, when the clock is ticking—and it is ticking—it is most wise to go freaking insane. Forget waiting for the right chance. Forget playing it safe. I say, damn moderation. Damn balance. Damn the torpedoes, for crying out loud. You only get one shot at this. If you fail, then at least fail gloriously. Crash and burn for all the world to see. Let the little chickens roast marshmallows over your wreckage. If you screw up, then do yourself a favor and be the biggest freaking screw up the world has ever seen.

So start counting. I’ll bring marshmallows just in case.


One Response

  1. That’s fine if you don’t have responsibilities to other people. But if your crash brings down others, I think you have the obligation to avoid one.

    It is irresponsible to throw away others’ security on your own whim. Like a Kobe Bryant taking heroic shot after shot, bringing the team down to defeat. You gotta pick your time, play within yourself and help others be better. That’s why Bird,Magic, and Russell will always be better than Kobe, and why Jordan finally became great.

    When you do go for it though, go the whole way.

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