The Brevity of Life
“For they shall soon be cut down like the grass, and wither as the green herb.” (Psalms 37:2)
It is easy for us to comprehend, but hard for us to accept: life is short! We have all faced the fact that death is all around us. We have all felt the pain of grief for loved ones who have been taken from us, whether by illness, accident, violence, or old age. The fact is that life on earth is brief.
David wrote, “The days of our lives are seventy years; and if by reason of strength they are eighty years, yet their boast is only labor and sorrow; for it is soon cut off, and we fly away. . . So teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom” (Psalms 90:10,12). As I grow older, it becomes ever more apparent that even if we live out a normal lifespan, life is still only for a short time.
James reminds us to have humility, because all the power and riches of this world can never stop the coming of death. “For no sooner has the sun risen with a burning heat than it withers the grass; its flower falls, and its beautiful appearance perishes. So the rich man also will fade away in his pursuits” (James 1:11). How much did the richest man in the world leave behind when he died? He left it all!
Life is brief so we need to have lives that are holy. In Jesus’ parable of the rich fool (Luke 12:13-21), He warned us against laying up treasures for ourselves, but not being rich toward God. All of our earthly plans can be quickly and unexpectedly taken away. Only riches that are laid up in Heaven are secure.
Life is brief so we need to make the most of every opportunity. “Redeeming the time, because the days are evil” (Ephesians 5:16). Time is short for us to use our Christian influence to teach our family, friends, and neighbors about the Savior. Time is short for us to help those in need for the glory of God. We must never pass up an opportunity to enrich our spiritual lives in Bible study or in worship with the Church.
Life is brief but eternity is for a long, long time. To a child that is waiting for that big birthday, opening Christmas presents, or getting a driver’s license, time creeps along. To the adult who has lived a few more years, the passage of time seems to quicken at an alarming pace. Then it’s gone! It is appointed by God that we all die and face the judgment (Hebrews 9:27). Eternity begins! There is no more opportunity for repentance and baptism, a life of discipleship and good works, or reaching those loved ones who are lost. The way we choose to live our lives now will determine whether we share eternity with God in Heaven or eternity separated from God in Hell. The time is short. Tomorrow is gone. Today is what matters for time, for life, and for eternity.