O LORD, make me know my end and what is the measure of my days; let me know how fleeting I am! Psalm 39:4
The New Year is finally here! I praise the Lord for all His many blessings and look forward to another year of fruitful ministry; another year of learning to glorify God and enjoy Him through Jesus Christ!
I want to reflect with you this week on the ultimate purpose of our lives. All of us should (with some measure of regularity) take the time to stop and evaluate our lives in light of God’s purpose for us. This is something that I do with great frequency with God’s help because I do not want to waste my life.
The verse quoted above was engraved on a tombstone in a gravesite that I once visited in the United States of America. The LORD used that occasion to engrave Psalm 39:4 upon my heart to my own benefit. I thank the Lord for this constantly pray with David, “O LORD, make me know my end and what is the measure of my days; let me know how fleeting I am!”
There is nothing more sobering to me than thinking about my own death. One day, I am going to die and so will you! I don’t want to waste my life! God doesn’t want any of us to waste the lives that He has given us. The only thing that will truly matter at the time of our death is whether our lives were dedicated to God’s “ends” (purposes) or not. The beginning of a new year is a good time to stop and reflect on this all important truth and to seek the LORD’s help in order that we may not waste our lives on vain things.
We all face the great temptation of throwing our lives away on foolish and frivolous pursuits. We often find ourselves so busy running here and there but going nowhere. Most of our busy-ness has to do with things that don’t really matter all that much (merely time-wasters at their very best) – i.e., cell phones, the internet, Facebook, twitter and all that kind of stuff. The world has led us to think that the quality of our lives depends on these things – that the quality of our lives would be second best without them. Consequently, we feel compelled to have these things. After all, who wants a second-class quality of life or anything? So, we spend our days chasing these things. To make matters worse, we don’t just want to have a phone, but the best of them; the fastest internet, the best of this, that and the other thing and we want it RIGHT NOW! Before we know it, we find ourselves held hostage by these things. The focus of our lives is bent towards earthly pursuits which produce nothing good for our souls. Instead of laying up for ourselves treasures in heaven (Matthew 6:20), we find ourselves chasing the fleeting pleasures of sin and worldly enjoyments which leave us dejected, empty and defeated in the end.
Is that really how God wants us to live our lives? Of course NOT! God wants us to live lives that find their ultimate joy and fulfillment in Him. This is the “END” for which He made us! We need to be wise and remind ourselves that God made us for Himself and that our hearts will remain restless until they find their rest in Him (St. Augustine). Our chief purpose is to glorify the Lord God and to find our joy in Him forever (Westminster Shorter Catechism). God has much better things for us than anything this world can offer us.
To varying degrees, all of us look back over the past year(s) with regret over some of the things we have done – i.e. how we have spent the time and resources entrusted to us by God. We mourn over lost opportunities to glorify the LORD and be a blessing to others in this world. Most of all, we mourn over our sins and our inability to shake off the guilt and shame that accompanies them. We mourn over “wasted” lives.
That’s the bad news. But there is good news! The LORD God will abundantly pardon those who seek Him. Our God is a God of second, third, fourth and yes, endless chances! He is able to save to the uttermost those who draw near to Him through the atoning blood of His Son, Jesus Christ (see Hebrews 7:25). I encourage you to heed God’s call through the prophet Isaiah: “Seek the LORD while He may be found; call upon Him while He is near; let the wicked forsake His way, and the unrighteous man His thoughts; let Him return to the LORD, that He may have compassion on Him, and to our God, for He will abundantly pardon” (Isaiah 55:6-7). This New Year provides a natural opportunity for us to evaluate our lives, seek the LORD and pursue His will for our lives.
It’s NOT too late! You can begin now by praying with David, “O LORD, make me know my end and what is the measure of my days; let me know how fleeting I am!” Psalm 39:4
Only one life, ’twill soon be past,
Only what’s done for Christ will last.
And when I am dying, how happy I’ll be,
If the lamp of my life, has been burned out for Thee.