Life is Short

Life is Short Devotional
Rev. Dona Johnson | Jan 21, 2024
Why does time fly faster as we age? How a clock measures time and how you perceive it are quite different. As we grow older, it can often feel like time goes by faster and faster. This phenomenon is well documented by psychologists. Harvard Professor Adrian Bejan hypothesizes that, over time, the rate at which we process visual information slows down, and this is what makes time ‘speed up’ as we grow older. But however each of us perceive time, with each birthday, our lives are shortened. Everything that breathes has a life span and so it is with us—time is marching on.
         The Bible also mentions how human life is short. Psalm 39:4,“ LORD, remind me how brief my time on earth will be. Remind me that my days are numbered— how fleeting my life is.” Psalm 90:12, “So teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom.” And, Job 14:5 “Our time on earth is brief; the number of our days is already decided by you.”
         Paul also understood time is short (1 Cor. 7:29-35). He reminds the people in Corinth that time is running out. What was he referencing? For Paul, he treated the second coming of Christ as if it could occur at any moment. He believed that everything must be laid aside in a tremendous effort to prepare and concentrate on Christ’s coming. Jesus said numerous times that we and not even Jesus knows the day or the hour of his return, so stay awake spiritually (1 Thess. 5:2). So, why did Paul write this message? The Corinthians were facing severe persecution. Following Christ was tearing apart marriages and family relationships. And it required a special focus on the promises of Christ like never before.
        The Corinthians needed to remember that life is brief (James 4:14) and this meant their trials were short-lived when compared to eternity. Paul goes on to say, those who are married, who are mourning, who are rejoicing, who are busy buying possessions and securing attachments in the world must live with a renewed focus on the kingdom. In other words, Christians must consider reprioritizing their lives. 
For all their attention, energy and efforts focused on family, mourning losses, rejoicing in wins, and accumulating power and wealth— all of these initiatives grow pale in light of eternity and what awaits them. Wait a minute, was Paul saying marriage is not important? No. Was he saying not to mourn and rejoice? No. Paul was saying to the Christians in Corinth, as the time draws near and your days are numbered, you will need to preserve your spiritual, emotional and physical energy for staying faithful in difficult times. You may be presented with a situation where you have to choose between a family member and your devotion to Jesus, you may have to choose between your feelings of sadness and happiness, wealth and power and Jesus. And let’s add politics to this list. Of course, this was not a new message. Jesus spoke many times about losing our souls for worldly gain. “For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it. What good will it be for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? Or what can anyone give in exchange for their soul”(Matt. 16:25-26)?
         Time is short. Yes, it is later than we think. But there is good news, we still have time to truthfully revisit what we hold dear. All the things we invest in will one day decay and pass away. But God’s eternal promises will remain. Temporal activities that bring security and enjoyment to our lives now are sacred gifts from God, no doubt about it. However, when we over-focus, misuse and are consumed with them, they may replace or overpower our fidelity and affection for Jesus Christ—in whom all these other things are so generously added!