“Man is like to vanity: his days are as a shadow that passeth away” (Psalm 144:4).
There was a popular song a number of years ago with a refrain something like this: “Those were the days, my friend; we thought they’d never end.”
But end they did, of course. Young people tend to think only of the present or the near future; as they get older, they begin reliving the past in their memories, often with regret. But when one eventually reaches true old age, he finally begins to appreciate the real brevity of our human life span.
The Bible would remind us that our “days are as a shadow.” Moses, the man of God who himself lived 120 years, wrote near the end of those years that “we spend our years as a tale that is told . . . it is soon cut off, and we fly away” (Psalm 90:9,10). Even Job, who lived probably 200 years or more, lamented that “my days are swifter than a post: they flee away” (Job 9:25).
In the New Testament, the Apostle James (who, like most of the other apostles, would soon die a martyr’s death) wrote: “For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away” (James 4:14).
How important it is, therefore, for Christians to really realize that we have “only one life—’twill soon be past; only what’s done for Christ will last!” One day, probably sooner than we think, each of us must “appear before the judgment seat of Christ” (II Corinthians 5:10) to give account of the way we have lived as Christians. The most wonderful words we could ever hope to hear will be: “Well done, good and faithful servant” (Matthew 25:21). On the other hand, as a famous poet once wrote: “Of all the words of tongue or pen, the saddest are these: it might have been.” Therefore, Lord, as thy servant Moses wrote: “Teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom” (Psalm 90:12). HMM