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  • Shawn Thornton

Life is Short

Wednesday - March 3rd

Devotionals from the Book of James

Scripture to Read Today: James 4:11-17


What is your life?

You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes.

James 4:14

The older I get, the shorter life seems.

When I was a boy, I wondered if I would ever become an adult. It seemed so far off and such a different life. Now, I see how brief my childhood was. When I stop to think that I graduated from high school thirty-six years ago, it stuns me. Lesli and I will celebrate our 31st wedding anniversary this June. Our youngest child graduates from college this May. My financial advisor tells me that I need to start adjusting how I invest my 401k "as you approach retirement." What? As I approach retirement?

To top that off, as I introduced one of Calvary's pastors (Brian Howard) to someone this past weekend, and that person said, "So glad to meet your son finally." That is the first time a pastoral colleague of mine has been mistaken as my son! Lesson learned. Start with their pastoral title, not just their first name.

Yep. Statistically speaking, at 54 years of age, more life is behind me than ahead of me (unless we factor in the eternal life I have in Jesus - but I digress).

In his New Testament letter, James makes the point in chapter four and verse fourteen that life is like a mist or a wisp of steam. Think about how quickly the steam on your morning coffee comes and goes or how fast your mirror gets fogged up and returns to normal after a hot shower. Think of one morning's coffee steam or mirror condensation in light of your whole day, a whole month, a full year, or your entire life. That illustrates how brief our lives are. Here today and gone tomorrow.

Beyond the reference James makes to life being like a vapor, the Scriptures use various images to illustrate life's brevity. That imagery includes the movement of the weaver's shuttle (Job 7:6), a passing shadow (Job 8:9, Job 14:2, Psalm 102:11), a fleeting wind (Psalm 78:39), a swift runner fleeing away (Job 9:25), a fading flower (Job 14:2, Isaiah 40:6), and a withering blade of grass (Psalm 102:11, Isaiah 40:6). God wants us to understand life is short, and we need to live it with that understanding.

How are you investing your time on earth? Have you spent time growing in the Lord? Have you sought to love others so they see Jesus in you? Are you making wise, godly choices that reflect your understanding of life's brevity?

Whether we have more of life behind us or we have more of life ahead of us (and God only knows), we need to be mindful of how we utilize the time we have now. Every moment of every hour is a gift from God. Let's live it recognizing our opportunity to impact others for our Lord!

Life is short. It is a gift from God. Enjoy and spend it wisely!


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