Psalm 21:4 “He asked life from You, and You gave it to him— Length of days forever and ever.”
Working in health care brings with it a view to life that often intrigues me. There are people that have every desire to live as long as they possibly can, they will undergo numerous procedures to keep them alive, pacemakers, surgeries to remove blockages, they will have legs cut off when circulation has ceased, test after test, and yet after all that, they will continue to smoke, drink, and eat like they just don’t care.
We have people patients who are young i.v. drug users that are afraid to get stuck with a needle. There are chronic smokers who will use oxygen while they smoke, there are cocaine addicts with decreased heart function and wonder why they have no stamina, but the one that really astounds me are the myriad of morbidly obese patients who don’t like doctors telling them they need to lose weight.
Modern day health care has developed to the point where there’s and expectation to keep people alive while they continue to destroy their bodies. People seem to think it’s easier for the doctor to fix them up so they can continue their lifestyle uninterrupted rather than change their lifestyle.
The older I get, the more the reality of life’s brevity becomes apparent. As a follower of Christ, I long for the day to stand in the presence of Jesus.
There are times when a sweet little old lady is at the end of her life and I hear the joy in her laugh, I see the peace in her eyes, and she mentions her faith like its a dear old friend she has held onto for a lifetime.
I find myself in a way envying that little lady. Her graduation day is about to come and her time on earth is wrapping up and drawing to a close. I think to myself that if the Lord were to tarry and I were to live to the age of 80 or 90 years then I have decades to go until my graduation day into Heaven will arrive.
Don’t get me wrong, I love my wife and family, grandkids are like little bundles of blessings that drop out of Heaven, they are such a joy to watch and love. But true life is more than this earth can afford, it carries simple joys, and precious memories, but real life is that which extends into eternity.
Psalm 91:14-16 “Because he has set his love upon Me, therefore I will deliver him;
I will set him on high, because he has known My name.
He shall call upon Me, and I will answer him;
I will be with him in trouble;
I will deliver him and honor him.
With long life I will satisfy him,
And show him My salvation.”
Is it a blessing to live a long life on this earth?
Have you ever met someone who is 95+ and hurts everywhere, can barely see, has trouble walking any distance, and struggles to keep their teeth in their mouth. Everytime we work on the advanced in age many of my peers wonder about the ethics of subjecting someone to difficult procedures for what—a couple more years? Most of the time it is family members that want to hold onto grandpa or grandma until the bitter end, disregarding their loved ones quality of life because of their fear of losing a loved one.
These bodies are not meant to last forever, and yet people do everything they can to keep themselves or loved ones alive as long as possible.
In God’s universe, life is more than living into an advanced age, it extends beyond this life.
Length of life—the kind that endures forever—- is not attainable through science, it comes by way of the cross.
When Jesus gave His life, He opened a way for mankind to live. True death is more than physical death, spiritual death is a reality for many that should be of much greater concern.
If someone dies in their sin, they die a spiritual death.
Sin corrupts, it separates from God, and keeps people in a position of darkness. It is this darkness that leads the sinner into a literal everlasting death that has no end.
The sin that leads to death is the unrepentant sin of a person who has rejected Christ.
Long life…eternal life, can only be attained by salvation in Christ alone.
Is it worth giving your body over to every form of pleasure only but for a fleeting moment?
I believe that a truly good life is one that is lived intentionally, with eternity in mind.
Proverbs 10:27 “The fear of the Lord prolongs life, but the years of the wicked will be short.”
The Bible actually says a lot about extending your life on earth. I suppose the people who look forward to the coming Messiah, the ones who lived before Jesus’ appearing, knew they were going to have to wait for the advent of His coming before they would be released from Sheol; this reality would certainly make me want to live as long as I could.
Today, in this world of increasing darkness, the prospect of long life doesn’t carry as much promised hope. I hope that as God pulls the rug of comfort and pleasure out from under the feet of this godless world, that some might see the empty promises this world holds and turn to Jesus.
1 Peter 3:10 “For whoever desires to love life and see good days, let him keep his tongue from evil and his lips from speaking deceit”
The pattern of a long, good life is a pattern of righteousness. If you want to truly live with a purpose, follow after the One who gives purpose to life.
A life lived purposefully doesn’t die prematurely.
A Good Life
There is a scripture in Proverbs that stands out to me.
Proverbs 16:31 “Gray hair is a crown of glory; it is gained in a righteous life.”
Do you hear what this is saying?
Longevity of life is cut short because of sin. A righteous life actually extends the life of the body. The reduction in stress, abstaining from things that destroy the body, keeping things in moderation and going about the Lord’s business are attributes of a righteous life. The world can mimic these attributes and there are those who have lived long lives apart from Christ, the sad reality is this life will be as good as it ever got for them.
A good life is a life that is lived for Jesus.
Deuteronomy 5:33 “You shall walk in all the way that the Lord your God has commanded you, that you may live, and that it may go well with you, and that you may live long in the land that you shall possess.”
The promise to Israel given through Moses is not much different than the promises we receive from God. God has placed us in the land of His choosing, what we do with the time we have is what constitutes life.
My Father and Mother-in-law read from a short book of poems by Linda Ellis during Christmas. The book was called “Living your Dash” and referenced the dash on gravestones between the day of your birth and the day of your death. If you were to look on most grave markers you’ll see a date such as May 1, 1850-January 20, 1902. The small dash between dates indicates the summary of your life. The dash seems small and insignificant and yet in the context of eternity that dash would probably seem like a mile. We grow up, struggle through teen years, raise a family, work, watch our family grow, get older, lose loved ones, and eventually we die. Nothing we gain can we ever take with usl; money, houses, supplies, it all is left for someone else.
What do we do in this life that has eternal significance?
This is the question we must ask ourselves every day. Do you think it really matters if that death date extends another 30 years? It does matter if during that 30 years you left a legacy of faith in others. It is those people who came to Christ because of your testimony that you will see in Heaven one day.
These are the ones that count….not your animals, not your career, not your bank account—-People! People who have been made in the image of God and have a soul that extends beyond this life.
Consider what has true lasting value and invest your time and resources into that….you will take with you far more than you ever thought possible.