Keep on Swimming. . .

everyday life inside the fishbowl

Thursday Thoughts: What is Your Life?

on September 19, 2013

ImageOur lives are filled with joy and sorrow. There are the expected, but sad deaths of the elderly; the joyful arrivals of babies; the jarring news that a middle-aged man is dying of cancer. . .

Tuesday, my husband and I went through some of his Grandpa Dean’s belongings. Grandpa Dean was a godly man who lived a long life (91 years!). Yet everything that he accumulated over those long years was left behind. Reality kind of hit me, as we looked through his stuff, looking for something we might be able to use. The reality that you take nothing with you when you die. Now, Grandpa Dean was a very generous man. I’ve never seen so many $50’s slip from one hand into the hand of another, as did from his hand. Yet, still, everything was left.

Yesterday, a friend introduced a beautiful baby girl into the world. She came into this world with absolutely nothing. She will most certainly have many good things poured out on her in love, yet she, too, will leave this world one day with nothing.

Today, a friend passed from this world into the welcoming arms of his Savior. His wife and sons were left behind, as well as everything that he ever worked for.

And I think to myself, “What is your life?”  The Bible speaks to that very question:

Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a town and spend a year there and trade and make a profit”— yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes. Instead you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that” (James 4: 13-15).

What is my life? It is a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes. I can make all the plans in the world to go to this place or another, to do this thing or the other, to accomplish that thing and accumulate this amount of possessions. . . but I don’t even know what’s happening tomorrow.

Clearly, we need to plan and have goals and aspirations. But our lives need to be lived with the ever-present realization that we are here for such a little time. Our lives–and deaths– are in the hands of our sovereign, loving Lord.

Should we not, then, live our lives in this reality? But we don’t. We live life under the delusion that we control our lives, that we are going to live forever, and that we are going to take what we have with us. Not that any of us really believes it. But we live like we believe it. At least I sometimes do.

Not that we can’t enjoy the temporary pleasures of life. We can actually use the “everyday” to glorify the Lord. The author of Ecclesiastes brings out the enigmas that life seems to present. He talks about the seeming futility of life when everything just dies anyway, yet he realizes that the pleasures of life–and life itself–are good gifts from a God who wants us to enjoy them. After analyzing the brevity of life, he ends his book with these words:

 The end of the matter; all has been heard. Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man (Eccl 12:13).

We need to have a reverential awe of and obedience to God that permeates our entire lives. This is our primary goal in life as we meet our temporary goals. Because life is short. Because we can’t take anything with us. Because we treasure God above all else.

So, what is your life?

{On Thursdays, I share some thoughts about what God is teaching me in my various roles as a Christian, a woman, a wife, a mother, and a pastor’s wife.}

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