Monday, December 08, 2008

Life Is Short

I spoke a couple of years ago on this theme, and considering my recent post about almost dying, I think it's an appropriate time to post something on the subject. My sermon was based on the words of Moses in Psalm 90:10, 12. He wasn't at a real good place in his life, "As for the days of our life, they contain seventy years, or if due to strength, eighty years, yet their pride is but labor and sorrow; for soon it is gone and we fly away…So teach us to number our days, that we may present to You a heart of wisdom." Three things to learn from this passage:
  1. The “27,740” Principle - that's the number of days in 76 years. The average life of copper wire is 20 years. The average age for a cat is 15 years. The average life of a dollar bill is 18 months. The average life of a painted line on the road is 3-4 months. The average life of a pro basketball players shoes is 2 weeks. The average life of a tornado is 10 minutes. The average life of a person in America is approximately 76 years or 27,740 days. So far I've used up about 13,380 of mine- almost half- and I subtract one more off the total with every sunset. And so do you.
  2. The "Time Flies" Principle - Moses says that soon our time is gone and then we fly away. I read a quote one time that said something like- in childhood, time creeps, as a teenager, time walks, As a young adult, time runs, and during adulthood – time flies. I look no further than the size of my kids to be reminded how quickly time flies.
  3. The "Make it Count" Principle - Moses turns to prayer and asks God that He teach us to "number our days." The truth is, our days are already numbered, we’re just not aware of it most of the time. And when you come across people who are aware that their own days are numbered, their perspective is totally different than the rest of us. They’re working on making every moment count on the important stuff. I pray I will follow suit.
"Our souls are not hungry for fame, comfort, wealth, or power. Those rewards create almost as many problems as they solve. Our souls are hungry for meaning … we want our lives to matter." -Harold Kushner

1 comment:

Danny Lucas said...

In this season of Three Wise Men, your gift of three, deserves a return gift of three.

1. Thank you for the insight and wisdom into Psalm 90. Many may concentrate on the limits set within...our days are numbered. The wise learn to prioritize the days we make the best out of each.

2. A Catholic nun tried to explain to the wee people in my elementary grade class, a concept known as eternity. The class I was in did not get the concept at all; we were bored.

Kids played marbles in those days. One marble was out in the hands of the class clown. The nun siezed it and held it high.

"See this marble?"
(All eyes rivetted on the marble at once).
"It is made of glass. I want you to pretend it is made of steel.
Now, we will place an ant on this steel marble and let him walk around, and around.

When you walk on a carpet, you wear it out and make a worn path in a spot.

This ant will now walk around, and around, as long as it takes,....until his walking wears the steel ball down to nothing left at all. How long would that take?"
(rhetorically asked).

"One more thing", she continued.
"Instead of the marble, we will enlarge the ball to the size of the Planet Earth. A steel ball the size of the Earth.
How long would it take an ant to walk around the Earth with an 8,000 mile journey being one time?

Now this ant will walk and walk and walk, until the steel ball as big as the Earth is worn down to nothing. Imagine that!

When it is finally done, after all of that time has gone by, you will have reached the tiniest fraction of eternity.

If all the grains of sands on all the beaches of the world were made big, into new steel balls EACH the size of the Earth,....
and our little ant walked on each, until he wore them ALL down by walking on them, you would have the tiniest, tiniest part of eternity.....not even started."

Previously, we kids thought eternity was the time until the 3 o'clock dismissal bell rang.
Our minds were enlarged by a marble and a nun.

3. He was the finest Christian man I ever knew.
He exemplified wisdom and living life to the full.

We had golfed and enjoyed the game, and each other's company. It was late afternoon and we sat on lawn chairs, under a maple tree at home.
I told a joke and it hit his funny bone royally.

The sun was glinting under the leaves of the maple, he laughed so hard his head tilted back and one knee was lifted up. He was wearing fire engine red golf pants (something I considered taking a lot of guts to do). The bended knee, the uproarious laughter, the red pants, the sun shining, the enjoyment of the day, and the love of a friend, were all captured as I reached over and lifted my nearby camera and snapped a photo of the moment. His smile had never been more grand.

That Christmas, I matted the picture with white
($1) and bought a small frame ($1).
At the base of the matting, I hand printed this:

"Satisfy us in the morning with your unfailing love,
that we may sing for joy and be glad all our days."
~~~Psalm 90:14

That Psalm 90 verse captured the photo and the spirit of the entire summer day together. We were BOTH sasisfied and glad.

It was one of the most extravagant gifts I have ever given, for the price meant nothing, ....but the truth, and memory, and gladness, and simple satisfaction,......last an eternity.