I have been thinking a lot lately about the finite nature of life. I know this is not something that people generally like to talk about. In fact, most people spend a lot of time and energy trying to forget it.
We like to fool ourselves. That time, is limitless and death is something so far away that it can’t be seen. Reality shows that death is something that comes incredibly fast, for some even faster! We either live out our lives into a ripe old age, wondering where the time has gone in the end. Or, we could die tomorrow or five minutes from now. That is the thing about death, it is illusive.
I don’t say these things to try and be dark or depressing. In fact I am trying to bring things into a perspective, that could actually be freeing! Our culture is so terrible with how we manage our time. We spend our whole lives trying to push through it to get to places in the distance, then we wonder where it all went!
I have been trying to recognize every moment as the gift that it is. I am reminding myself that this minute, this hour, this day is going to come and go. I will never see it again after this. I try to appreciate all the time God gives me. I never know what is going to happen on my way to someplace, or if I am going to wake up after my head hits the pillow that night. Time is such an incredible privilege!
This really brings things down to earth for me. We all long for some kind of recognition, or our lives to be extraordinary. In one hundred years it is extremely likely that no one will know who I was as a person. It is far more likely that in two hundred years no one will even know I existed! Even the popular celebrities of today will face this. For all the fuss people make over them they are here, and will be gone in a blink of an eye. We all fade into the nameless-ness over time.
So what am I worrying about that really needs no worry. My job? My finances? My mark on the world? My mortality? And, what am I not giving enough time to? My God, my wife, my children, my friends? What would I do with every second that I recognize that I can never ever get back.
So knowing all this I have begun to try and remind myself of the importance of time and the need to recognize the gifts I am given in the tiny moments that I am trying to push through. I try to remind myself, that the moment I am in is here and is going to be gone forever! I try to remind myself that the day is an opportunity to make a difference in the people’s lives around me. That it is a chance for God remind me of his love and his purpose, to commune and know him deeper! A chance to love on my wife and kids! Another chance to choose important things!
As a follower of Jesus, I believe in the existence of eternity. Because of the fall, our physical bodies are limited. Our time on this planet is a flash when it was meant to be unending. Knowing this is not an excuse to check out. How we live our lives and run our races matter. Keeping a perspective of limited physical time, helps clarify what is and is not important. How we treat each other matters. How we make each other feel, matters. The things we make ultimate are often things that don’t really matter in the grand scheme of things. Money, possessions, the fickle emotion of happiness.
I guess what I’m trying to say is, it is easier not to sweat the small stuff when you have an eternal perspective. It’s easier to know what is important when you remind yourself that your time on earth is limited, and could be gone tomorrow.