Life. Death. Fleeting days. Unending eternity. These are all topics that we’ve covered so far in our three-part mini-series on the brevity of life. However, by this point you may be thinking, If life is so short why can’t we just enjoy it? Or What sort of difference can I possibly make with my little life and why would it matter? Why can’t we spend life loving the Lord and longing for heaven?
These are valid questions, and ones that don’t have easy, clear-cut answers. However, no matter the number of years our life may encompass or the influence we think we may have, God has set each of us upon this earth for a specific purpose, which the Apostle Paul so eloquently reminds us in Ephesians 2:10:
“For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.”
So though we are commanded to love the Lord our God with all our heart, mind, and strength, that’s not our only task while on this earth. We each have a job to do, a job God prepared for us before we even came into being.
As Christians, we know that death holds no sorrow but only joy and peace. In fact, as life becomes more and more miserable on this earth, our hearts long more deeply for the Lord’s coming. We sorrow over the brutal persecution of our fellow brothers and sisters in distant lands and grieve the loss of morality in our post-Christian culture. Our souls cry the words from Revelation, “Maranatha, come quickly Lord Jesus!”
While I whole-heartedly join that cry and look with anticipation for the day when this life will be over, I wonder if we’re truly ready. Are we ready for that moment when we’ll finally cross the threshold of time and dimension and join eternity around the throne room of God? We talk about it, sing about it, and our souls long for it. But are we really ready?
Are we ready to leave this world and the work set before us to join the Lord in glory?
We often lament about the misery, sorrow, and pain of this life. And while it is an imperfect world we live in, there are also many joys, blessings, and victories to celebrate. But we can quickly lose sight of these if our focus is limited to the sorrow of this life compared to the perfection of heaven.
One of these blessings is that we were created for good works. We weren’t placed on planet earth to merely pass through life pining for heaven, but for a reason and a purpose. As we already discovered in Ephesians 2:10, God has planned things for us to do and given us a job that needs to be done.
But we only have a brief time to accomplish that task. Once we’re in heaven our time is up. We will no longer be able to become God’s hands and feet because there will be no need for work. Therefore, the life we have is truly a gift and an honor. We get to be tools in the work of the Father!
While this is an exciting and unique opportunity, it is also a huge responsibility. The Bible tells us that we will all stand before God’s throne and give an account for our lives, how we lived it and what we did with it. He will ask us if we accomplished the work He set before us, and He won’t accept any excuses. The pull of social media, responsibilities at work or school, frivolous hanging out with friends will not matter to God. He will want to know what we did for Him and for His kingdom.
And no matter the excuses or justifications we make on earth, in the last day all things—the way we live our life, what we do, how we do it, what we say, who we spend time with—will be tested and accounted for. The actions, motivations, deeds, thoughts, and entirety of our life will be tested by fire. As Paul soberly warned the Corinthians:
“Each one’s work will become manifest, for the Day will disclose it, because it will be revealed by fire, and the fire will test what sort of work each one has done.” (1 Cor. 3:13)
The things done for ourselves and this earthly life will burn up as wood, hay, and stubble. Only the things done for God and His kingdom will remain as silver and gold, which will last into eternity.
So how are YOU going to use your opportunity and time on this earth? What will remain after the essence of your life is tested by fire?
Remember Randy Alcorn’s illustration of the dot and line? While the mundane-ness of everyday life quickly numbs our minds and hearts to the miniscule length of life, the reality remains the same: life is very brief in light of eternity. But this fleeting life does matter. It has world changing potential and eternal significance. Therefore, live your life wisely and live it well, so that when you reach your final days you may hear the Master say, “Well done good and faithful servant”, and may leave a lasting legacy and impact on those left behind.
We’ve been on a deep, thought-provoking journey together. I hope and pray that you have been challenged to seriously ponder and consider the brevity of your life and the need to live every moment with purpose, urgency, and direction.
To close, we’ll come full circle and reiterate the adage quoted at the beginning, “It’s not the years in a life, but the life in those years.”
So how and for whom are you going to live yours?
“Walk [live] in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God.”
“And he [Christ] died for all, that those who live might no longer live for themselves but for him who for their sake died and was raised.”
~II Corinthians 5:15
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