Psalm 90:12: “Teach us to realize the brevity of life, so that we may grow in wisdom.”

Brevity of life – what the Psalmist is referring to here is obviously our lifetime on Earth, which is indeed limited. Our soul, however, is ageless and lives forever!

Certainly, not everybody believes in an afterlife. But even if you don’t, all the more is it important to reap the benefits of being here. What are the benefits? The greatest benefit we derive from being alive is giving back to people. My experience is even if we give just a little bit, we receive so much more in return. It may be a little counter-intuitive to live that way, but then, everything God says is counter-intuitive. Take His famous love commandment for instance (Mark 12:30-31):

“And you must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind, and all your strength.’ The second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ No other commandment is greater than these.”

It’s not easy to love a random neighbor. And at times it’s not easy to love yourself. Counter-intuitive, to say the least! And yet, if you go for it and love yourself as well as your neighbor, your life is well-lived. Loving God adds the much-needed third dimension into our lives. Without God, life would be just two-dimensional – my neighbor and me. Include God into the equation, and we gain depth perception. With God comes love that outlasts us. He has loved us long before we even recognized Him. With God comes purpose. Yes, Virginia, there is an afterlife, and God is our eternal home. He created us, we came from Him, and that’s where we belong.

The fact that we’re all going to die at some point is our daily reality. Wrestling with death we hold on to dear life! So did King David when he asked God the question (Psalm 30:9):

“What will you gain if I die, if I sink into the grave? Can my dust praise you? Can it tell of your faithfulness?”

The end of our life marks the end of all our activities on Earth. Our activities during our lifetime – good or bad – leave a mark. That’s the kind of legacy we leave. Let’s make a positive impact now, while we’re still here. Let’s invest ourselves; be passionate; fight indifference; love like there’s no tomorrow. Remember: life is short, and each moment here is a gift. We need to use it wisely!

Blackbird fly, blackbird fly
Into the light of the dark black night

Luke 9:23-24: “Then he said to the crowd, “If any of you wants to be my follower, you must give up your own way, take up your cross daily, and follow me. If you try to hang on to your life, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for my sake, you will save it.”

In chapter 9 of Luke’s gospel we read about the tell-tale signs that Jesus’ ministry on Earth was coming to a close. On His way to Jerusalem where His own life would be taken Jesus addressed the crowd with the following words: “If you try to hang on to your life, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for My sake, you will save it.” Jesus walked the talk. He did not hang on to His own life; giving up His life He saved it when God resurrected Him on the Third Day; and by freely giving His life He ultimately saved ours.

However, ever since we walked out on Eden we’ve been in the habit of hanging on to our own life, our own way, and rely on our own best judgment. It’s the human condition. “East of Eden”, a novel written by John Steinbeck and transformed into a movie in 1955 is showcasing the pain of faltering human relationships. There’s plenty of pain involved living outside of Eden; though we’ve also experienced the amazing goodness of the Lord for not dropping us like a hot potato. Once life on Earth becomes a mere memory, we are able to look back and recognize without a shadow of a doubt that life without God is no life at all.

After Jesus died on the cross and rose from the grave He sat down at the right hand of God. That says it all. He is a hero in the Father’s eyes because what His heart wanted most – extending grace to all His estranged children – is now happening on any given day. People realize one by one that they are loved by God, that the doors to reconciliation are wide open. Reunions take place. People find Heaven or Heaven finds them. Jesus’ sacrificial death enables grace upon grace!

If food goes bad we throw it in the trash. When mankind turned bad God didn’t do that. The longer we’ve lived seeing what is happening on this planet (and has been going on for generations) the more God’s belief in us becomes apparent. Yes, this is an astounding fact: God believes in us – so much so that He bet His Son’s life on it. He invests in us by withholding nothing and giving it all! If God so full-heartedly believes in us, shouldn’t we believe in Him?

John 3:16: For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.