This morning I was reading through Psalm 39 for my devotions. Even after being a pastor for many years and a Christian for many more years beyond that, I will read a passage from the Bible and something new jumps out at me. I have probably read the passage numerous times over the years, but as I read the words one more time, there is something I have never noticed before. This verse from Psalm 39 was like that for me this morning: "Show me, O Lord, my life's end and the number of my days . . ." (Psalm, 39,4a, NIV)
The Psalmist appears to be praying to God -- asking to know how long his life will be. It started me thinking about whether I would want to know how many days my life would last, if I had the chance. What would that be like to know exactly how long you will live? Now aside from the obvious and very practical concerns like whether or not you would need life insurance or funds for retirement, I wonder how it we might approach life if we had that knowledge.
If we had a shorter time to live, would it make us focus on those things in life that are really important, or would we just "grab for all the gusto" in life and think only about ourselves and having a good time? Or, if we found had we were going to live an unusually long time, would we make plans for how to live each day -- reflecting the values we thought most important? Or, would we live only for ourselves most of the time, and then try to change our ways as we approached the end of life? Finally, where would we see God at work in all of that?
Those are a lot of pretty deep questions. However, since we rarely know the actual number of our days, I think we can take insight from the Bible that encourages us to live each day as if Jesus were coming back soon. Live that way each day and I believe things will be okay.