How often do you think about how long you have on this earth? I don’t mean to sound morbid, but I probably think about the length of my existence at least a few times a week if not almost every day. Death is something that we all will face. It’s a painful reality. However, I’m not speaking about dwelling on the end so much as how we use the time leading up to that end. Psalm 90 verse 12 is a prayer that suggests we should all be asking for a heightened awareness of the time we have. The New Living Translation says, “Teach us to realize the brevity of life so that we may grow in wisdom.” It’s a good thing to know that we are temporary. That our lives won’t go on forever. That we aren’t invincible and that life could be over in a moment. That realization is meant to give us wisdom.
Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is.Ephesians 5:15-17 ESV (emphasis added)
Almost every night, without fail, my children try to get in some last minute play time when it’s actually time to be getting into bed. It seems like we have an identical discussion each time. I tell them that they need to be winding down and getting ready for bed and not making a mess (that they had just cleaned up not long before). They will respond with, “we didn’t get to play earlier so we really wanted to now.” I will do my best to show empathy while at the same time expressing to them that we don’t have time in a day to do everything that we would want to do. So we have to prioritize. That’s hard for kids. Many of us as adults are still learning that same skill. Our lives have only so much time allotted to them. Our years go by like a whirlwind. Before we know it, we are on to the next month. The days can be a blur. This is why it is so important to number our days. To walk carefully and thoughtfully. To be wise and to use our time the best way we can. And to do that, we need to know what the will of the Lord is for our lives.
There are many passages in the Bible that describe the brevity of life.
- 1 Chronicles 29:15 says life is a shadow
- Psalms 78:39 says life is a passing wind
- James 4:14 says life is but a vapor
- Job 9:25 says life is swifter than a runner
- Job 14:2 says life is like a flower that comes forth and withers
How does God want us to make the most of our time? What does a life well-spent look like? I think that is a question that could take many blog posts to address. One that deserves serious contemplation and daily reflection. For now, lets look at one passage as a starting point.
Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.Colossians 3:12-17 ESV (emphasis added)
So much is in these six verses but imagine how our days might be different if we memorize and meditate on being: compassionate, thankful, forgiving, kind, humble, and patient. And we spent our time singing praises, teaching others, encouraging others, and helping carry the burdens of others. Imagine the peace of mind that we would experience if, at the end of the day, we could look back and say that our lives were well spent. Too often, my days are full of “getting things done” that I miss out on more important things. Too often, I’m doing good things and miss the greater things. But our lives don’t have to be devoid of responsibilities to reflect the words of Colossians. I believe we can be about our jobs, daily requirements, parenting, and being a spouse, and still reflect all the things God has called us to. In fact, it is in our relationships and responsibilities that we have the greatest opportunities to reflect Jesus. But it does require a switch in how we approach everything and everyone. Mostly, it requires a heart surrendered to Jesus to make the most of our lives.
Peace in Christ brothers and sisters.