This is a devotion from the leader of our prayer team. Copied with permission.
Human beings have only a few days to live. Their lives are full of trouble. They grow like flowers, and then they dry up. They are like shadows that quickly disappear.
- Job 14:1-2 (NIRV)
You don’t even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? It is a mist that appears for a little while. Then it disappears.
- James 4:14 (NIRV)
But put God’s kingdom first. Do what he wants you to do. Then all those things will also be given to you.
- Matthew 6:33 (NIRV)
But my life means nothing to me. My only goal is to finish the race. I want to complete the work the Lord Jesus has given me. He wants me to tell others about the good news of God’s grace.
- Acts 20:24 (NIRV)
Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.
- Philippians 3:13-14
“I shall pass through this world but once. Any good, therefore, that I can show to any human being, let me do it now. Let me not defer nor neglect it, for I shall not pass this way again.” This short proverb, entitled “Opportunity”, was supposedly written by Stephen Grellet, a French born American Quaker missionary who lived from 1773 to 1855 [Source and exact quote under dispute, may be any number of “old quakers”]. I first became aware of it when Deb and I visited one of our Bethany members at the Baptist Home in Mt. Lebanon. She has a plaque in her room, hanging on a wall, with this proverb on it. She made sure that we both read it before we said good-bye that day.
The Old Testament has several references to the brevity of life. The passage from Job above are his words, describing our lives as short and full of trouble, and then we dry up and disappear. There’s even a reminder of this in the New testament. James tells us that our lives are like a mist that also disappears. In Psalm 90:10, Moses states that we may reach 70 or 80 years, have trouble and sorrow, and then the years pass and we fly away. All of this is sobering and helps us focus on our real purpose in life. Ephesians 2:10 tells us that we’re created in Christ Jesus to do goods works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. That’s the beauty of God’s plan for us, that we’re given identity and purpose in Christ to accomplish His will. We just allow Christ to live through us, following Him as His Holy Spirit guides us.
Paul points out in 2 Corinthians 6:2b that a person should not delay coming to faith in Christ, because now is the time of God’s favor, now is the day of salvation. This is simply another Scriptural admonition born out of the fact of the relative shortness of life, encouraging folks to seek God while they can. Jesus told folks to put God’s kingdom first by doing what He wants you to do. Not empty words, but life-giving words spoken by the Savior Himself.
Referring to Paul once again, he writes about finish(ing) the race, complet(ing) the work the Lord Jesus gave him to do, and press(ing) on toward the goal. The Bible teaches us that through our faith in Christ, we’ve been freed from the bondage of sin and are now slaves of righteousness. We are slaves with a purpose, work to do, and a goal to achieve, all the while giving God glory, honor, and praise through our service to Him!
Our short proverb reminds us that our lives are one act plays here on earth. Any good we might do needs to be done now! And we will not pass this way again in this short life. But, by God’s grace and mercy, we can have lives full of purpose and meaning, planned for us ahead of time, allowing us to pass our short time pleasing Him.
Soli Deo Gloria. Only to God be the Glory.