Monday, October 11, 2004

Life Is Short

“Now listen, you who say, ‘Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.’ Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes.” James 4: 13-14

Life is short.

I was reminded of that today. This afternoon, a friend’s father died suddenly. He was laughing and enjoying life one minute, going home with Jesus the next. A shock to his family.

Life is so fleeting. So why do we act like it’s anything but? We put off doing things we should do. We procrastinate like crazy, taking tomorrow for granted. I think about balancing my checkbook, but that can wait. Or I say I’m going to clean out my refrigerator this weekend or mow my grass, but I put it off as long as I can, figuring I can do it tomorrow.

And then there are bigger things, more important things that I sometimes put off doing. I won’t confess how many years it’s been since I’ve had a physical, but I’m dreading making the appointment because I know my doctor’s going to yell at me for not coming in sooner, so I keep putting it off.

There are books I want to read, passages in Scripture that I want to study. But I keep on procrastinating because I tell myself I have all the time in the world. I’m deceiving myself.

Lately I’ve tried to live more in the present, less in the future. (Please do not think that I’m saying I don’t think about the future; it’s a very Biblical principal to plan ahead. But Scripture also teaches the importance of getting things in order now, making the most of today and not squandering the time God has given us today. Today could be our last day.)

I’m making more of an effort to enjoy time with my friends and not worry about staying up too late. I’m more generous with my love and praise of the people around me, and less concerned about what I’ll get from them in return. Relationships as a whole have become more important to me. I want to live my life in such a way that if I were to die tomorrow, those who I love would know without a doubt that they were loved by me. That requires forgiveness, patience, kind words. Letting go of grudges. Letting go of a lot of things that used to bug me. I'm not perfect at it by any stretch, but more and more I feel like I'm living without regrets.

I encourage you to ask yourself what you’ve been putting off doing. Is it taking the first step in mending a broken friendship? Is it taking a stand for what you know is right at work or school? Is it telling your family that you love them? Life's too short to live with regrets.


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