Here’s some perspective—if you drew a timeline 50 feet long that represented all of Earth’s recorded history, your life would cover about the breadth of your hand. But that’s only recorded history—what about the eternity that existed before history started and the eternity that will continue after history ends?
Twice in Psalm 39, David described our brief life like this: each man’s life is but a breath.
So what do we do with our breath-long life? Fortunately for us, David gives us godly perspective in five areas.
David had a good start: I will keep my tongue from sin, but what happens when sinful words slip out? I would suggest we count those as a gift. Really?! Yes, because those “slips” make us aware of what’s really in our heart (see Matthew 15:19) so that we can confess them.
David also suggests putting a muzzle on our mouths when we’re around certain people. In other words, don’t get into petty fights with people who aren’t going to receive the wisdom we may have to share with them.
Why do we procrastinate doing good things? Some of our simple cliches reflect this, like TGIF. Why wait until Friday to get happy? Why not say TGIT—thank God it’s today! Do something memorable today… do something life-altering today… do something for God today.
David reminds us that we work so hard to accumulate stuff “not knowing who will get it.” Jesus had another word for someone who only wanted to get stuff to make his life easier: fool (see Luke 12:16-21). Use stuff to serve others.
Why oh why, would we spend one minute longer than we have to with unconfessed, unforgiven sin? I blogged last week about the freedom that immediately comes when we receive forgiveness from our confessed sin. Let’s do this quickly!
If I only have a breath-long life, I want to make every moment count. I love what C.T. Studd wrote: “Only one life will soon be past. Only what’s done for Christ will last. … Let us not glide through this world and then slip quietly into heaven without having blown the trumpet loud and long for our Redeemer, Jesus Christ. Let us see to it that the devil will hold a thanksgiving service in Hell when he gets the news of our departure from the field of battle.”
Here’s my prayer for all of us—Lord, help me to know how few days I have so I can live every one for Your glory.
This is a weekly series with things I’m reading and pondering from Oswald Chambers. You can read the original seed thought here, or type “Thursdays With Oswald” in the search box to read more entries.
Living In The Now
Jesus did not use figurative language in talking about the Hereafter. He said: “Let not your heart be troubled”—“My Business is with the Hereafter.” Our business is to live a godly life in the present order of things, and not to push out beyond the durations God has placed as limits. …
I have no power to choose whether or not I will take the consequences of my choice; no power to say whether or not I will be born…but I have power to choose which way I will use the times as they come. …
Jesus Christ taught a reasonable life on the basis of faith in God—“Be carefully careless about everything saving your relationship to Me. Don’t be disturbed today by thoughts about tomorrow, leave tomorrow alone, and bank in confidence on God’s organization of what you do not see. Yesterday is past, there is no road back to it, tomorrow is not; live in the immediate present, and yours is the life of a child.” …
Jesus Christ deliberately chose “the long, long trail”; we choose “the short cut,” and continually go wrong until we understand the meaning of the 23rd Psalm, “The Lord is my Shepherd, He leads me in the right paths.”
From Shade Of His Hand
In Shade Of His Hand, Oswald Chambers is taking an in-depth look at the book of Ecclesiastes. In chapter 3 of Ecclesiastes, Solomon says there is a time for everything.
Chambers reminds us that we don’t choose the time we will be born, and we don’t choose the time we will die—God alone chooses those. But everything between birth and death is our choice. Jesus taught us that our choices and our level of joy in the moment will be much better if we seek God’s wisdom for all of those choices we make.
My Grandfather used to say, “Give me my flowers while I’m still alive.” I think this was his way of restating the cliché, “Dead noses smell no roses.” It’s true: flowers at a gravesite—no matter how beautiful they are—aren’t appreciated by dead noses. Kind and loving words spoken at a funeral—no matter how eloquent they are—aren’t appreciated by dead ears.
The point is: today is special. Today is one-of-a-kind. Today is the best day to tell someone dear to you how truly special they are. Today may be the last day you have to make something right. Today is the day to send those flowers. Don’t put it off until tomorrow.
How many people live with regrets today because of the things they didn’t say before a loved one passed away from this life? How many people feel guilty today because they didn’t make things right in a strained relationship? How much better to live today knowing that we said and did all of the things we could to express our love, to show how valuable the relationship was.
Job said, “My days are swifter than a runner” (Job 9:25).
His friend Bildad agreed that, “Our days on earth are but a shadow” (Job 8:9).
And James wrote, “Your life is like the morning fog—it’s here a little while, then it’s gone” (James 4:14).
We never know how much time is left to send those flowers.
Don’t live your tomorrows with regrets for the things unsaid or undone—say them and do them today.