Shortness of life is not just about our personal life; Jesus warns us about time’s expiration date constantly. Someday this world ends and eternity begins.
It’s funny, I check the expiration date religiously on labels. However, I am not nearly as cognizant of time’s expiration date. Needless to say, I should be. After all, I can buy more milk, I can’t purchase additional time.
SHORTNESS OF LIFE COMES TOO OFTEN COMES AS A SURPRISE
A victim of the recent shooting tragedy in Jacksonville contemplated the shortness of life. He texted from his hiding place: “I will never take anything for granted again.” He is gifted with a new perspective on life. Unfortunately, for two people the shortness of life became a reality. Their injuries were fatal.
Conversely, Barbara Bush, Charles Krauthammer, and John McCain all announced this year they had a short time to live. These individuals had time to contemplate the shortness of life and study what the Bible says about the years we have on earth: “They quickly pass, and we fly away” (Psalm 90:10b).
Advance notice or not, time is finite. It will end when we die or when Jesus returns.
With only three months to live, how would you use the time?
Not an original question, I know.
In fact, I don’t think it’s even the right question.
Of course, it’s asked to help us gauge what’s important and how we should live our lives in the here and now. So despite my skepticism, let me take a stab at an answer.
RECOGNIZE THE SHORTNESS OF LIFE BY SPENDING TIME WITH GOD
Of course, spending time with God is paramount. Would my prayer time increase in time, intensity, and passion? You bet. Also, I’m sure that my prayers would be more about my relationship with God and not so much on my wants.
RECOGNIZE THE SHORTNESS OF LIFE BY SPENDING TIME WITH FAMILY AND FRIENDS
Surely, this is at the top of the list. Expressing my love and appreciation for each one is a top priority.
RECOGNIZE THE SHORTNESS OF LIFE BY SHARING WISDOM
Unfortunately, this one is hard to resist especially when my husband, kids, and grandkids have to listen
RECOGNIZE THE SHORTNESS OF LIFE BY APPRECIATING GOD’S WORLD
Spend time appreciating God’s creation. Enjoy nature and “stop to smell the roses.” Perhaps travel to places you want to see – especially places that help appreciate our Christian history and beliefs.
IS THIS QUESTION THE BEST WAY TO DETERMINE HOW TO LIVE?
You don’t really know the answer until the question is facing you. While determining how we would live the last three months of our lives helps us recognize the shortness of life and prioritizes what is significant and valuable, I’m not sure it’s really effective for planning our lives for longer than three months.
As I look over my answer, there are many positive things on the list.
Certainly, procrastination is no longer a problem!
Nevertheless, it is noteworthy what I would not do. I would not eat right, exercise, or learn something new. Would I go on a mission trip or serve on the building committee at church? How about going to work or saving for a rainy day? What we focus on during the last month or so of our lives, is not the best way to live day-to-day.
SHORTNESS OF LIFE: LEARN FROM WOMEN IN THE BIBLE
So, as I often do, I turn to women of the Bible. Studying some of their lives shed light on how easy it is to overlook bad choices that undoubtedly determine our legacy. Here are four women whose actions were not praiseworthy: but in all honesty, we’ve all been there. At least I have
SHORTNESS OF LIFE FOR LOT’S WIFE – LAST ACT WAS DISOBEYING GOD (Genesis 19: 1—26)
We don’t even know her name, but we know her actions.
Lot and his wife shouldn’t have been living in Sodom where decadence and wickedness reigned; however, they chose comfort and money over morality and God. They lived like they didn’t recognize the shortness of life. Still, God sent angels to get them out before death and destruction ensued, not only in Sodom but also in its sister city Gomorrah.
The angels warned the family not to look back, but for whatever reason Lot’s wife couldn’t resist. Was it a longing for her decadent life? Perhaps she left part of her family there or had a best friend. We don’t know, but we do know that her last act was disobeying God and she turned into a pillar of salt.
It’s scary to think that my last act before meeting God might be one of disobedience. I pray I will be rejoicing about my future in heaven instead of looking back at this sinful and fallen world.
SHORTNESS OF LIFE FOR REBEKAH- LAST RECORDED ACT WAS A DECEPTION (GEN. 25:19—26; 27—28:5)
The Bible tells us that Rebekah and her husband Isaac played favorites regarding their twin sons: Esau and Jacob. Rebekah preferred the younger Jacob and Isaac enjoyed the company of the firstborn twin, Esau.
Jacob’s descendants were chosen to continue God’s covenant with Abraham. Rebekah knew that was God’s plan, (Genesis 25:23) but instead of trusting God, she decided to help Him. Consequently, she tricked Isaac when he was old, feeble, and virtually blind to assure Jacob inherited the blessing customarily given to the oldest son.
Because of this betrayal, Jacob had to leave town quickly and didn’t return for many years. I’m sure Rebekah recognized the shortness of life when death came before she saw her favorite son again. She must have been heartbroken when she died.
I know my heart is deceitful. Let me put my trust in God and not my own plans. Don’t let me die guilty, broken, and sad about my choices.
SHORTNESS OF LIFE FOR RACHEL: HER LAST WORDS WERE “SON OF MY SORROW” (Genesis 29:1—35:20)
Rachel shared her husband, Jacob, with her sister Leah. It wasn’t fair. Jacob was tricked into marriage with Leah. To make matters worse Rachel was barren and Leah was giving Jacob sons. Rachel’s bitterness and jealousy were understandable, but still not healthy.
This young beautiful woman didn’t appreciate the shortness of life. Wasting her life by allowing bitterness to rule. She was blessed with her husband’s love, but instead of enjoying her many blessings she allowed jealousy to overwhelm her thoughts and emotions until she turns on Jacob blaming him for her barren state. In frustration she threatens her husband, “Give me children, or I’ll die!” (Gen. 30:1b).
Eventually, Rachel conceived and gave birth to a son. She named him Joseph, which means “add.” You see, Rachel suffered from the “Never-Satisfied Syndrome.” She had no time to praise God or find joy in her beautiful son. Instead, she asked for more. “May the LORD add yet another son to my family” (Gen. 30:24b).
A few years later, she became pregnant again, but her delivery was hard fought. After giving birth, Rachel knew she was about to die. With her last breath, she named the baby Ben-oni” (which means “son of my sorrow”) (Gen. 35: 18a). Despite her beauty and opportunity, she died a sad and miserable woman.
I pray I don’t live my life Rachel-style, but instead appreciate my blessings and live with a joyful heart.
SHORTNESS OF LIFE: IT WAS A SURPRISE TO SAPPHIRA AND SHE ENDED HER LIFE WITH A LIE. (Acts 5: 1—11)
This woman conspired with her husband to make them look generous. They sold their property and pledged it all to the church, but truth be told they kept some for themselves. God struck the couple dead – not for keeping some of the money, but for the deception. She lied to the Holy Spirit.
People’s last words are meaningful. I pray my last words aren’t a lie.
SHORTNESS OF LIFE: HOW DO WE PREPARE?
How do we prepare so we don’t end up like Lot’s wife, Rebekah, Rachel, or Sapphira?
Reading Ecclesiastes is an excellent place to start. In old age, Solomon ruminated on his life; subsequently realizing how his focus and priorities had been skewed. As the years fly by I, like Solomon, spend more time contemplating my life’s choices and priorities.
Keep in mind, no matter what your age, shortness of life still applies. You may be in your last years, months, weeks, or days. Pondering the good, bad, and ugly of our lives is beneficial to keep our focus on God’s will and God’s Word.
Don’t be like Solomon: “Remember now thy Creator in the days of thy youth, while the evil days come not, nor the years draw nigh, when thou shalt say, I have no pleasure in them” (Ecclesiastes 12:1 KJV). The ERV version ends this verse with: I have wasted my life! Don’t wait until the end of your life when there is little or no time left.
Solomon is not alone in his warnings. Listed below are words from Moses, Paul, and yes even Jesus!
“So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom” (Psalm 90:12).
“And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God” (Romans 12:2).
“But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you” (Matthew 6:33).
For additional shortness of life verses, click here.
SHORTNESS OF LIFE: WHAT DO YOU THINK?
Agree or disagree? Comments are welcome and appreciated. For another article dealing with death check out: Fall and the Beauty of Death.
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Blessings until next time.