06/04/16 Brevity of Life

READING: Job 14-16

I remember as a young man hearing the words, “Life is short, so do God’s work today.” I tried to do whatever God wanted me to do then, but it wasn’t always because I really believed “life is short.” It’s hard to think that way when you’re 20 years old. At that age, death seldom enters the conversation. With what I believed were decades ahead of me, I had no reason to think much about eternity. Tomorrow would always come. 

I’m sure I read the book of Job then, but I certainly don’t remember letting these words sink in: “Mortals, born of woman, are of few days and full of trouble. They spring up like flowers and wither away; like fleeting shadows, they do not endure” (Job 14:1-2). Now, more than 30 years later, the words caught my attention in today’s reading.  Job may have lamented the tragedy of life in his words, but those same words remind me of urgency. 

I remember the day of my conversion in 1974 as if it happened hours ago. I recall my baptism, my first Sunday school class assignment, my first sermon when I was 16 years old, my first day as a pastor, my first trip overseas, my wedding, my first day as a seminary professor, my first day with a missions organization. God has allowed me to do much in my 55 years, and I’m grateful for every opportunity. 

I also remember painful days. The first time a beloved family member died. The tornado that destroyed much of our subdivision. The first church conflict expressed in a business meeting. The first funeral as an officiating pastor. The burial of a baby boy. The agonies of divorce.  The days may be few, but they are still full of trouble.  

Yet, it’s all happened so quickly. It seems like just yesterday that I was a teenager talking with my future pastor about how to get saved — and now I’m ten years away from retirement age should God permit me to live that long. Today, the words, “Life is short, so do God’s work” make much more sense to me. They are a call to steward wisely every moment God gives us. 


  • Honestly evaluate if you are stewarding well the life has given you. Where you are wasting your time and energy, repent.    
  • Do something that has eternal value today: share the gospel with somebody.  

PRAYER: “God, thank You for the reminder that life is short. Help me to respond to that truth by serving You fully today.”