Tag Archives: life’s brevity

“So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom.”  (Psalm 90:12, KJV 2000)

It isn’t just cartons of milk that bear an expiration date.  We, too, have a fixed number of days.

It is foolish to live — especially in the face of daily evidence to the contrary — as if we shall never die.  Failing either to number our days — or to act as if our days are numbered — means that we are not truly ready to live, because we are not yet ready to die.

Consider the proverb: “A wise man gives what he cannot keep; to gain what he cannot lose.”  Redeem the time.  – Luther

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““All people are like grass, and all their faithfulness is like the flowers of the field. . .  The grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of our God endures forever.”  (Isaiah 40:6b, 8, NIV)

In the spring of each year, we are reminded of the splendor of nature as lawns and fields green-up; and flowers add color to every scene.  It is wonderful to behold, but we know it lasts only for a season — even if it is repeated next spring.

Isaiah reminds us that we, too, are like the grass and the flowers: Magnificent in many ways, but also fleeting.  In the context of more than 6,000 years of recorded history, our singular 70 or 80 years of life is less than a dim flash.

Isaiah also reminds us that though we are less than a vapor, God’s word endures for all of time and eternity.  If we desire any permanence in what we do or say, it must be enveloped in and consistent with God’s word.  Such consistency comes only through the reading and the heeding of scripture.  – Luther

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“As a father has compassion on his children, so the Lord has compassion on those who fear him; for he knows how we are formed, he remembers that we are dust.”  (Psalm 103:13-14, NIV)

The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines “compassion” as “sympathetic consciousness of others’ distress together with a desire to alleviate it.”

To begin to see ourselves as God see us is the first step toward a new frontier of compassion toward others.  To regard ourselves as something other than “dust” — that is, as transitory and humble — is to ignore the lessons of history, the evidence of biology, and the propositions of theology.

We may be able to fool ourselves as to our true make-up because everything seems to be going our way (something the scriptures refer to as “the pride of life”).  However, if we see ourselves as God sees us, we come not only to realize what we are not, but to the realization of Who God is.  It is in such a place that we apprehend the “fear” (also translated as the “reverence”) of the Lord.

The psalmist says that it is upon such people that the Lord’s compassion rests.  God sent His only begotten Son, Jesus, as His “sympathetic consciousness” of our distress.  The cross of Jesus is His sole and solitary plan to alleviate that distress.  The resurrection of Jesus is God’s guarantee.  – Luther

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