"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.
Who understands the power of Your anger And Your fury, according to the fear that is due You?
So teach us to number our days, that we may present to You a heart of wisdom."
Time is short, death is sure, and eternity is forever. The urgency that those phrases produce in the heart reflects the enormity of what's at stake. We are continually harassed by time, seldom fully feeling able to rest and relax with it...constantly aware of its unflinching regularity, its total disregard for how much or how little is accomplished within its boundaries, combined with an eternal dimension to our internal clock (a God-given hint that, unlike animals, humans' home is not here...we're spiritual beings, fitted for eternity).
We speak of how short it seems, or how slowly it passes, and how it "flies"... depending on what is happening at the moment. Underlying it all is the unceasing, nagging awareness that time is limited, being inextricably linked with death. One can wonder: if there was no death, would we have Time Use workshops and seminars? The certainty of death escalates the pace of life, drives the "just do it" mentality, and, of course, created the Bucket List. Whether we will admit it or not, death is the elephant in the middle of the room...always there, ignored to our peril, incessantly behind the scene of our days and haunting our nights with its inevitability. A non-negotiable, death is oblivious to all excuses, all bargaining, all resentment. And, as one wise observer noted, "One isn't ready to live until he's ready to die."
In Philippians 1:21, Paul testified "for, to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain." The implications of those dozen words are impossible to fully grasp. Sufficient to say here is: to live this life with ANYTHING other than Christ in that verse will mean that dying is most assuredly NOT gain. If the center of one's life is family, work, peers, ease, luxury, wealth, religion, self, or any one of a multitude of possibilities, then the time for dying will not be gain. It will be an unspeakable loss, without end. Remember? Eternity is forever.