Life is Short

by by Pastor Terry Tatum, Discipleship Pastor, Lynn Haven Methodist
Photo by Rod Long Photo by Rod Long

I read recently that the average life span for an American male was 81 years, compared to American females who average living to 85. This type of statistic would normally not have caught my attention but as a middle aged American male who is rapidly approaching 50, these stats jumped off of the page. Let me put this a different way. For most of us Saturday is our fun day, a day where we can do the things we enjoy most. A 50 year old American male only has 1,612 Saturday’s left, and an American female only has 1,820. Let that sink in!

Statistically speaking I have lived way more than half of my life already. Where has the time gone? A wise Christian lady I know once told me, “The days drag on, but the years fly by.” Oh, how right she was. I feel like I am running out of time. We live in a world that seems to be in fast forward and full of trouble and sorrow. When something bad happens on the other side of the world we immediately get an alert on our phones. This only accelerates the speed of our lives. In his book entitled Get Your Life Back, John Eldredge calls this “the blistering pace of life”. He goes on to say that we “have been sucked into a pace of life nobody’s enjoying.”

Then I remembered the Bible predicts this: “The length of our days is seventy years— or eighty, if we have the strength; yet their span is but trouble and sorrow, for they quickly pass, and we fly away.” (Psalms 90:10) This Psalm is credited to Moses and is considered by many scholars to be the oldest Psalm. So 1,400 years before Christ, people were realizing the speed at which life passes by.

In James 4:14 we read, “What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes.” My personal translation of this verse is “we are all just passing through.” Why am I telling you all of this? There are 168 hours in each week. Over 40% of American workers work over 50 hours per week. We sleep an average of 56 hours per week. That leaves us with 62 hours. Of those 62 hours we spend roughly 12 hours on things like sitting in traffic, watching TV, or scrolling through social media. That leaves us with 50 hours. 50 hours each week to make a difference in this world. Most of us are wasting those 50 hours on things that don’t matter much today and certainly won’t matter in the greater story of history. I don’t know about you, but I want my life to matter. I want my life to be about something bigger than just me. I want to leave this world better than I found it.

We are all the beneficiary of generations of Christians who came before us and made sacrifices that have lasted for years. To put it bluntly, I am eating fruit off of trees other people have planted, we all are, and we have been all of our lives. I think it’s time we quit wasting time and start planting some trees ourselves.

How do we do that? Call someone you haven’t talked to lately and tell them you love them. Volunteer in a local school through Elevate Bay or serve at the Panama City Rescue Mission. Instead of watching TV tonight, read one of the Bible stories about Jesus with your family. Make attending church regularly a priority. Or, the area I’m going to focus on, help someone grow in their faith. Be a disciple maker like Jesus commands us to be in Matthew 28.

Life is short, do not waste another second. Use all the time you have left to make this world a better place. Do your small part, wherever God has you, to grow his Kingdom and bring as many people to Heaven with you as possible. I’ll leave you with the words of Moses spoke to the Lord “Teach us to number our days aright, that we may gain a heart of wisdom” (Psalm 90:12). Amen.

Peace be with you!