Have you ever been trying to work out a problem only to find out you are right back where you started? It’s a frustrating – no, maddening – experience that many of us have faced at some point. Can you imagine coming to the end of your life only to find out that your life had been that circle back to square one?
Solomon laments the great frustration that is our lives in the book of Ecclesiastes, calling everything “hebel,” a Hebrew word meaning worthless and frustrating! It doesn’t matter if you are rich or poor, wise or foolish, good looking or ugly, after you die, people will forget about you and any of the amazing things you might have done!
The psalmist recognized that he only had power to praise the Lord while he was alive, so he was going to take advantage of that opportunity. If I die, he said, will the dust praise You? Indeed, we must strive to make full use of the time we have.
But Paul gives some tangible instructions for how to make life count, as he writes a final letter to his son in the faith, Timothy. Remember, there are no shortcuts to living a godly life. The person who runs in a race doesn’t win unless he competes by the rules. Make sure that the things you say are beneficial for others to hear. That doesn’t always mean saying what people WANT to hear, but we must ensure that we encourage those who hear us to live godly lives. Run away from sin if you are a Christian. Be gentle and patient as you instruct others. In everything, hold to the only foundation that will stand the test of time: the Word of God, and Jesus, the incarnate Word.
I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to reach the end of my life only to say, “So what?” I want there to be purpose behind what I do. With Paul’s instruction, we can advance toward that goal today! As we consider Christ’s sacrifice for us today, take time to praise Him today, because you might not have the chance tomorrow!