Another lesson God is teaching me is that my days are numbered. I know, I know, that’s not something you probably want to think about so early in the morning, but that doesn’t change the inevitable. I was in a bicycle shop yesterday and helped by a salesman who was on his “retirement” career. He absolutely loves biking. He said that his wife one day had taken out a tape measure and pulled out 78 inches. She said this represented the average US male lifespan. Then, she let the tape quickly take up 60 of those inches, leaving only 18 remaining. She then told him that is how much he likely had left. Her conclusion? It was time for him to start spending retirement money while he was healthy rather than accumulating more until he wasn’t.
One might think this would have been a perfect opportunity to ask him about Jesus. To be honest, I didn’t think about that until this morning. That’s ok, because he was the one teaching a lesson to me. He’s now doing something he really enjoy enjoys – biking and helping people buy a bike. It was a good experience. He sold a bike.
Earlier that day at work, we talked about the mortality of humans. In particular, we discussed it in relation to treating our bodies as the temple of God. Let’s look at that verse. Actually, let’s look at two.
1 Corinthians 6:19-20 Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.
Romans 12:1 I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.
And, here are some verses regarding the amount of time we have alive on earth.
Job 14:5 Since his days are determined, and the number of his months is with you, and you have appointed his limits that he cannot pass,
Psalm 139:16 Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there were none of them.
Matthew 6:27 And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life?
If we have determined our bibles to be accurate, we come to the conclusion that our life span is pre-determined. Right? This flies in the face of every message we hear from the world – that we CAN increase the length of our life by doing this or that. We learn we can “cheat” death through exercise, makeup, plastic surgery, hair treatment, and on and on. Google “how do I live longer” sometime. If this is true, that would make Jesus a liar.
Maybe our view of this is all wrong. If we can’t lengthen our life, and we can’t, we CAN significantly alter our QUALITY of life while we are alive. Once dead (apart from the rapture), we will have resurrected bodies. Prior to that, we have only the equipment we were issued with. As with a soldier, we are stuck with what we received, and it is our duty to properly care for it. Right?
There is a big difference in breathing deep from a morning run at the age of 70 compared to breathing through an oxygen tube. Yes, God can take us out at any time of his choosing, but we do seem to have a great deal to say about the quality of our life. We can fail to wear a seatbelt or helmet and be comatose for decades from a head injury or unable to move through paralysis. If our time is determined, we may have a long time to suffer unnecessarily because of carelessness. Smoking would fit into that category. Same with obesity.
So, yes, what’s left of that tape measure may be short, but my life can still be rich beyond measure. How? By walking closely to my God. No matter my circumstances, my life with God is beyond comparison to one without. Yes, I may be suffering from my choices or circumstances beyond my control. Either way, I find my strength, hope, and salvation in my God.
Father, as the Psalmist says, “So teach is to number our days, that we may get a heart of wisdom.” Amen.
Copyright © 2018 Scott Powers