This week I turned 60 years old. In some ways this is a big deal, because at 60 I am now looking at the last decades of my life, if I have an average lifespan. With that in mind, I am asking myself, "in light of the few days I have been given on earth, what will my life count for, how have I invested the precious time?"
When Moses was at the end of his life, he wrote a prayer in Psalm 90 when looking at the brevity of life and how we should respond to it. “The years of our life are seventy or even by reason of strength eighty, their span is but toil and trouble, they are soon gone and we fly away.” Then Moses in light of that truth, gives us a prayer that we should all consider, “teach us O Lord to number our days that we may gain a heart of wisdom.”
In James 4:13-15, the Apostle and half-brother of Jesus gave us a warning when we make plans without putting God at the center of them, “You who say, today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a town or spend a year there and trade here to make a profit… yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes. Instead you ought to say, ‘If the word wills, we will live and do this or that.’”
In Psalm 39, King David also gave us a prayer to help us in light of the brevity of life, “Lord, make me know my end and what is the measure of my days, let me know how fleeting I am… Surely all mankind stands as a mere breath… And now O Lord what do I wait for, my hope is in You!”
The point is this: God will hold all us accountable for how we used our lives. This is called God’s judgment and the Bible tells us on many occasions, hundreds if not thousands of times that there will be a day that you and I will have to give an account for our lives, which should sober us to look at our lives seriously and produce something with them. Hebrews 4:13 reminds us this way, “No creature is hidden from His sight, but all our naked and exposed to the eyes of Him to whom we must give an account.”
For the unbeliever, this should be a terrifying thought. Without Jesus I have nothing to stand before God with, and will justly deserve judgment and an eternal punishment in hell. That is why Jesus came, that through Him I may be forgiven of sin and receive eternal life. "God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son that whosoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life." (John 3:16)
For the believer, though we have the promise of eternal life, we have to remember that God will still hold us accountable for how we used our days on earth. If we have lived fruitfully for God, we have a great reward. But those who have squandered their days, we receive this warning, "If the work that anyone has built on the foundation survives, he will receive a reward. If anyone's work is burned up, he will suffer loss, though he himself will be saved, but only as through fire." (I Cor 3:14-15)