I was visiting my father in the intensive care unit a few days before his death. He was hooked up to so many machines; some keeping him alive…others taking measurements. There was one machine that my dad watched most often. After asking him why, he told me that it was the machine that monitors his heartbeat. I asked innocently what would happen if his heart stopped. The answer I expected was “An electrical shock triggers my heart to start beating again,” or “Nurses and doctors come running.” Instead, my dad said, “There’s a little speaker on the back of the machine and it will say ‘good-bye, Paul.’”
While he was just trying to be funny, his comment shocked me. It jolted me into the reality that my dad’s life was almost over…and that before I knew it, a speaker on the back of some machine would be telling me it’s time to say “good-bye” to Dad.
In Psalm 90:12 Moses prayed, “Teach us to number our days aright, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.” Thinking and knowing that our days are truly numbered should help us keep an eternal perspective, which in turn should help us make decisions and choices ranked by eternal values.
Unfortunately, I am often surprised by the minutiae of this world that I invest so much of my time on. I act as if the hours in a week are endless when I engage in some of these activities. Now, please hear me say, we all need some pursuits that are just in-the-moment, not necessarily of eternal impact, and that refresh and entertain us. But, really look at the proportion of these activities compared to the more important activities for building our relationship with God and each other.
Satan certainly throws many distractions our way and the world system gets us thinking these distractions are more life sustaining and fulfilling than the activities God wants us to pursue. Once in this trap, you might have to chew off a big part of yourself to save your soul. Our identity, purpose, peace, and joy get sucked out of us while we’re trapped.
Today, start keeping a journal or daytimer to document the activities of your day. Put a (+) next to activities that help you engage God or others in a positive way. Put a (–) if they keep you from engaging with God or others. Give some thought about time as an embezzler; coming in at night to steal days, weeks, and even years from you. Try to remember to use each day for your God as if it were your last…for all too soon it will be.
Dear Father God, I thank You, Father, for this day and every day of life You give me. I know that each day is a gift from You. Help me, Lord, to live with eternity always in view. I know sometimes the activities you have in my schedule seem burdensome or tiring to me. But strengthen me to see them as you do and to take part in them. By following Your will, I will be lifted up, and enjoy peace and fulfillment that are indescribable in a devotional. I pray in the name of the one who gave His every minute for mankind and me, Jesus Christ; and all God’s children said – AMEN!
Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes.