Entering into a new year is always sobering to me somehow. At my age, the years are rolling by too fast to suit me. I’ve been studying Psalms and came across the words of David in Psalms 39:4 which says “Lord make me to know mine end, and the measure of my days, what it is; that I ma\y know how frail I am” and the words from Psalms 90:12 “Teach me to number my days, so I may apply my heart unto wisdom!”
What a fitting word for starting a new year. After coming close to death in 2003-05 I learned to appreciate life. I take good deep breaths, I smell the roses, I feel the touch of the God given new babies against my skin, I take walks, I sit and look at the stars and marvel at the galaxies, taking in anything that makes me feel alive.
But does that mean I am “numbering my days so that I can apply my heart unto wisdom?” Life is short no matter how long we live. If there is something important we want to do, we must not put it off for a better day. My son is notorious for asking “If I only had six months to live, what would I do differently?” Asking yourself the same question, what would you do differently? Each of us would have our own well thought out plans.
The brevity of life is a theme throughout the book of Psalms, Proverbs and Ecclesiastes. Jesus also spoke about it in Luke 12:20. “Foolish man! Tonight your life will be taken from you. So who will get those things you have prepared for yourself?” This is from a story Jesus told of the rich man who had laid up wealth, built bigger barns to hold his stockpile. It is ironic that people spend so much time securing their lives on earth and spend little or no thought about where they will spend eternity. David realized that amassing riches and busily accomplishing worldly tasks would make no difference in eternity. Few people understand that their only hope is in the Lord. ‘So help us to realize how frail we are. Help us to apply our hearts to do wise things concerning our eternal soul.” David declared.
I visited my 98 year old Dad during the Holidays. God has blessed him with a good alert mind, and reasonably agile body. His philosophy on his life is interesting. To a 10 year old, Great Grandpa has lived a long time. To him his life has been too short and he wants to live longer. Even though Mother is gone and he lives alone, and his farming days are over, he enjoys living and can’t understand anyone who doesn’t want to live. He talks about his own great Grandpa who lived to be the ripe age of one hundred twenty. That’s right. 120! From talking with Daddy, he figures he may as well live that long too. Providing that his mind is good and his body reasonably nimble and he can still have his independence, then I hope so too.
Realizing that life is short helps us use the little time we have more wisely and for eternal good. Take time to number your days by asking, “What do I want to see happen in my life before I die? What small step could I take toward that purpose today?”
My way of dealing with the brevity of life is this: What will my legacy be? Will I be remembered by the cars I’ve driven or the houses I’ve lived in? Will I be remembered by the wealth I leave behind?
Will I be known as a “friend of God”? A Servant? A soldier to the end? A teacher? Will I be known for my love of life and mankind? Will I be known for my gentleness to everyone? A good wife, a good mother?
Will I leave behind a sweet fragrance of God’s love and compassion. Will there be assurance instead of tears? Assurance that we will meet again, so miss me for a moment otherwise rejoice that I have made it.
Living life in the light of eternity makes life valuable. Realizing that life is short helps us use the little time we have more wisely, and for eternal good. Because our days are numbered, our work should count, should be effective and productive. We desire to see God’s eternal plan revealed and for our work to reflect his eternalness. If you feel dissatisfied with this life and all its imperfections, remember the desire to see our work established is birthed in us by God. He has the plan. He will show us what that plan is on a by day basis. Life is short - live it well!