Have you ever thought about how short life is? James 4:14 says this, “How do you know what your life will be like tomorrow? Your life is like the morning fog–it’s here a little while, then it’s gone,” yet it seems that so often we forget how short life really is. The average person in the United States lives about 79 years, but our life could end at any second. If you don’t believe me, take a look at the headlines any day of the week, and you will find countless lives, young and old, that have abruptly come to an end. Matt Chandler says it like this, “You are like a dew on the grass that is gone by morning. You’re not even here today, gone tomorrow. You’re here in the morning and you’re gone before lunch.”
Eternity, on the other hand, is very long. Like longer than you could ever imagine. Eternity is so long in fact that it goes on and on and never ends, ever. So what this means is that we have a few short years here on earth, and then we will spend eternity somewhere else. So if we do the math, our 79 years (if we make it that long) are a tiny speck compared to the endless years to come.
Why is it that all we think about is our life here on earth and never about eternity? We work throughout our lives trying to make ourselves as comfortable as possible and have as much fun as we can, yet the Bible teaches us that what we do during our short time here determines how we will exist for millions and millions of years after.
We only get one shot at this life. My life may last for 100 years, and it may end tomorrow. But I know one thing for sure though, I want to make the time God has given me count by making much of the name of Christ. When comparing the length of my life on earth to the length of eternity I think this is an easy decision.
The problem is that we often need to be reminded about how short our life really is. Psalm 39:4 says “LORD, remind me how brief my time on earth will be. Remind me that my days are numbered–how fleeting my life is.” This needs to be our daily prayer: that we understand how short this life is, and that we will be motivated to live for one thing: Jesus Christ.
John Piper wrote a book titled Don’t Waste Your Life, and in that book he attacks the idea of the American dream and living for the pleasures of this world. He says that instead of living for ourselves and our own desires we should “find the God-centered, Christ-exalting, Bible-saturated passion of your life, and find your way to say it and live for it and die for it. And you will make a difference that lasts. You will not waste your life.” So what desires has God given you? What do you think about every day and wish you could pursue? Whatever it is for you, pursue that passion, cultivate it, and glorify God in the midst of it.”
Sure maybe the job that allows you to live out your passion and glorify God will pay less than another job, but is a large bank account the legacy you want to leave behind? We need to break the chains of the American dream that tell us success is defined by our paycheck and size of our house. Success is found in the impact we have on others in terms of pointing them to Christ, not the possessions we own.
So are we living for the short term pleasures of this world, or are we living for the everlasting treasures of eternity? And what legacy will we leave behind? Will people remember Christ, or will they remember what kind of car we drove?
It all comes down to this: life is short, eternity is long, and we need to start living like it.
“Remember, you have one life. That’s all. You were made for God. Don’t waste it.” – John Piper