“So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom.”
Written by Joanie Pegram
Last Saturday morning, one of my colleagues unexpectedly and peacefully went home to be with the Lord. One moment she was enjoying life as usual, and the next she was experiencing true life as she had never before known it.
My friend was a teacher who diligently and joyfully invested in the lives of her students. Hundreds recounted memories of ways in which she had impacted their lives. She seemed indispensable, but God called her home at the age of 49. Psalm 31:15a states, “My times are in thy hand.” Each of us has an appointed time to live, established before the foundation of the world by our sovereign, gracious God.
I was baking cookies when I received the news of Kim’s home going. As I finished my task, I found myself pondering the impact my life would have if I were suddenly called home. I often feel I don’t have enough time. To a child, life seems to crawl by; but adults sense life flying by and wonder what we will have to show for it. C.S. Lewis said, “The future is something which everyone reaches at the rate of sixty minutes an hour, whatever he does, whoever he is.” Since I have no control over the length of my life or the minutes in it, I must determine to make each moment count for eternity.
I have a love-hate relationship with modern technology. I love seeing pictures of family members and enjoy challenging my mind through educational apps as well as watching streaming videos or making my teaching more exciting by showing a performance of Itzhak Perlman or Luciano Pavarotti. I hate how easily I can spend an hour accomplishing nothing as I scroll through the lives of my social media friends or stay up too late finishing an episode, leaving me exhausted for my teaching the next day.
William Penn said, “Time is what we want most but what we use worst.” While leisure is not wrong, it is easier than ever to overindulge our desire for pleasure. Technology may not be your issue; you may enjoy reading, exercising, fellowshipping with friends, shopping or a host of other activities. None of these is wrong, but how easy it is to fritter away our lives with frivolous activities rather than “redeeming the time, because the days are evil” (Ephesians 5:16)!
When we “appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that [we] may receive the things done in [our] body…whether it be good or bad” (II Corinthians 5:10), will we hear God say “Well done, good and faithful servant” (Matthew 25:23)? Or will we “be ashamed before him at his coming” (I John 2:28)? Whether we have only today or another fifty years, James 4:14 says our lives are “a vapor, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away.”
However long God leaves us on the earth, let us say with the Psalmist, “LORD, make me to know mine end, and the measure of my days…that I may know how frail I am” (Psalm 39:4)! We will still make mistakes and waste the precious commodity of time, but spending time reflecting on the brevity of life should inspire us to cry out to God for help in using each day for His glory rather than only our pleasure.
Written by Joanie Pegram. This article was published in the Spring 2016 edition of The Beautiful Spirit magazine. She lives in Greenville, SC.