Vayigash (Genesis 44:18-47:27 )
When Jacob and his family arrived in Egypt, Joseph brought Jacob, his father, to meet Pharaoh. The first words Pharaoh said to Jacob were:
"How many are the days of the years of your life?" (Genesis 47:8)
A LIFE LESSON
Of all the things that Pharaoh could ask Jacob, why did he first want to know how old Jacob was? Or did he?
Pharaoh didn't really care to know Jacob's chronological age. Rather, Pharaoh wanted to know how many days that Jacob actually felt alive in his life. Just how many days were there where Jacob lived life to its fullest? It was these days that would actually determine the years of his life.
People often confuse activity with accomplishment. We can be busy all day long, but how much was actually accomplished? And it gets even worse. What if someone spent the entire day watching television and eating ice cream? Would that really be a day that could be counted as a fulfilling day in our lives? Of course not.
Sadly, many of us are watching television and eating ice cream in our own way. God gave each of us a unique and special talent that He wants us to use. Living each day as though it might be your last is a true day in your life.
A task will contract or expand depending on how much time we're given. People will inevitably wait until the last minute to finish most anything. Whether it's packing for a trip, buying gifts, or completing a project, we all seem to take as much time as we've been given. On Friday night, minutes before the Sabbath begins, Jews around the world are rushing to complete their Sabbath preparations. It doesn't matter whether it's winter and the Sabbath arrives at 4:00 or the summer time when it arrives at 8:00, everyone always uses all the time they've been allotted.
Similarly, any personal goals in our life will also contract or expand depending on just how much time we have for it. And since most goals are ones which we want to accomplish during our lifetime, then in theory you have your entire life to achieve them. This is why most people never scratch the surface of their potential. Sadly, the world is full of elderly people in their rocking chairs looking back on a life gone by who are still waiting for the perfect time to begin their goals and live their dreams.
And this is exactly what Pharaoh was asking Jacob. He wanted to know how many days there were that Jacob actually lived. Pharaoh knew Jacob was such a wise and revered man, so he wanted to know just how many days it was that Jacob was able to fight his instinctive urge to put off working toward his goals and aspirations and actually live each day like it might be his last.
Since a task will contract or expand depending upon the time we've been given for its accomplishment, then you can see it's vital to begin right now to live all the days... of your life.