Even Christians sometimes live as though this life will last forever. But the Bible teaches that we are sojourners on this earth. The Psalmist pleads with God to “make me know my end and what is the measure of my days; let me know how fleeting I am!” Here are 6 reasons that Christians should meditate on the brevity of life.
1. It’s Realistic.
Isaiah 40:6 says “All flesh is grass, and all its beauty is like the flower of the field.” Our days are numbered. Every person dies; you will not be the exception. What’s unrealistic is to live as if your day will never come.
2. It Orients Our Hearts Toward Heaven
According to Colossians 3:1-3, the unity between the Christian and Christ is so strong that “you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God.” Therefore “set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth.” A Christian is a citizen of heaven, a pilgrim on the earth. While we are to be stewards of God’s creation and work toward the good of our communities, Christians do so knowing that this world and everything in it will pass away.
3. It Helps Us Hold Earthly Possessions Loosely
Riches are not a curse, but a blessing. Yet the rich man is judged harshly in Jesus’ parable in Luke 12 because he “lays up treasure for himself.” He trusted in his riches, not the providence of God, and sought to hoard the wealth God had given him. Zacchaeus, on the other hand, when welcomed into God’s family by Jesus, vowed to give half of his goods to the poor (Luke 19), realizing that he was now a citizen of an eternal Kingdom.
4. It Prepares Us to Go at Any Time
Several of Jesus’ parables about His return can also be applied to our own life’s end. The Foolish Virgins were not ready for Jesus’ return and were shut out of the kingdom (Matthew 25:1-13). In Luke 12:35 Jesus tells his disciples to “Stay dressed for action and keep your lamps burning, and be like men who are waiting for their master to come home from the wedding feast.” And in Luke 21:34 Jesus warns: “watch yourselves lest your hearts be weighed down with dissipation and drunkenness and cares of this life, and that day come upon you suddenly like a trap.” Don’t be lulled into a false sense of security by earth’s pleasures. Are you ready to die today?
5. It Helps Us Plan for Our Earthly Future
Proverbs 27:23-27 gives this bit of wisdom: “Know well the condition of your flocks, and give attention to your herds, for riches do not last forever.” While we should not hoard wealth, we should be prudent with our resources. This may mean saving for retirement, or for our children’s future, or preparing a will, knowing that our end will someday come. We should not live like the hedonist (today is all that matters), but neither should we pretend that our earthly wealth will last forever.
6. It Helps Us Get Through Our Troubles
Paul compares his “light and momentary affliction” (like slander, beatings and imprisonments!) with the “eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison” as an encouragement to himself and the church to persevere. “For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal” (II Corinthians 4:17-18).
Remembering our mortality is not an exercise in morbidity. It helps us long to be rid of this body of death and seek what is eternal and perfect: life with our Savior in a new creation! Don’t settle for anything less!