“For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away.” (James 4:14)
“…We spend our years as a tale that is told. The days of our years are threescore and ten; and if by reason of strength they be fourscore years, yet is their strength labor and sorrow; for it is soon cut off, and we fly away…So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom.” (Psalm 90: 9, 10, 12)
When I was younger I would often hear older people say time seems to go by more quickly as you age. Now each day I wonder where the time went. Here we are entering November and I can’t fathom the passing of January through October.
But there is one truth that all face — each of us has one life on this earth, for good or bad. When we pass from this place, we don’t have a chance to come back to undo the things we wish we could. We must strive to make a positive impact each day.
Some have noted most tombstones have two dates separated by a small dash. That dash is the life of that person. What will people remember about us? Who will be sorry or glad when we go? Each day we make a mark on this world and on all those we contact.
Our lives have an effect on others that most of us don’t realize. Parents affect their children and children their parents. We impact our classmates, our co-workers, our friends and our neighbors. And while we may not realize it, we even have an opportunity to affect, for good or bad, the post office clerk, the people in the checkout line at Walmart, that out-of-state driver we honk at who is simply lost and the children on the crosswalk at the school.
That line between the date of our birth and our death tells our story, a story of either lasting positive impact or possibly lasting negative impact. And while we may leave a fortune or no money at all, while we may have a huge funeral or a service with only the people from the funeral home, while we may have thousands who mourn our passing or just a few, the truth is that our lives do matter and that they matter most in the light of eternity.
We will not carry into eternity our money, accolades, degrees or trophies; but we may take with us the souls of those we impact for Jesus Christ while we walk on this earth.
As I was growing up in a small church in West Virginia, our pastor would often quote C. T. Studd’s poem, “Only one life, ‘twill soon be past; only what’s done for Christ will last.”
Read and meditate on Studd’s “Only One Life” poem.
“Two little lines I heard one day, traveling along life’s busy way; bringing conviction to my heart and from my mind would not depart; only one life, ‘twill soon be past; only what’s done for Christ will last.
“Only one life, yes only one, soon will its fleeting hours be done; then, in ‘that day’ my Lord to meet, and stand before His Judgement Seat; only one life, ‘twill soon be past; only what’s done for Christ will last.
“Only one life, the still small voice, gently pleads for a better choice, bidding me selfish aims to leave, and to God’s holy will to cleave; only one life, ‘twill soon be past; only what’s done for Christ will last.
“Only one life, a few brief years, each with its burdens, hopes and fears; each with its days I must fulfill, living for self or in His will; only one life, ‘twill soon be past, only what’s done for Christ will last.
“When this bright world would tempt me sore, when Satan would a victory score; when self would seek to have its way, then help me Lord with joy to say: only one life, ‘twill soon be past; only what’s done for Christ will last.
“Give me Father, a purpose deep, in joy or sorrow Thy word to keep; faithful and true what e’er the strife, pleasing Thee in my daily life; only one life ‘twill soon be past; only what’s done for Christ will last.
“Oh, let my love with fervor burn, and from the world now let me turn; living for Thee and Thee alone, bringing Thee pleasure on Thy throne; only one life, ‘twill soon be past; only what’s done for Christ will last.
“Only one life, yes, only one; now let me say, ‘Thy will be done’; and when at last I’ll hear the call, I know I’ll say ‘’twas worth it all’; only one life, ‘twill soon be past, only what’s done for Christ will last.”