Our lives are short. They are, in the words of the author of Ecclesiastes, little more than vapor, dust blow by the wind. Yet the very thought that could dismay or depress you, can also motivate you. Here are some blessings that will be yours when you pause to consider your short little life.
Considering your brief little life will cool your love for the world. We are easily delighted by the things of this world, but we are just as easily deluded by them. Like sculptures carved of ice, the world’s pleasures are here for a moment, then gone. With time so short, why should we set our hearts on things we can’t keep? It is foolish and wasteful to covet things that cannot continue and do not provide true contentment. It is ridiculous to make long provision for a short stay. If we have enough to carry us to heaven, we have enough.
Considering your brief little life will humble you. Pride is our chief sin and humility God’s chief grace. To grow in godliness we must put pride to death. Considering our mortality helps this task. After all, how can we rise in pride when we know that we will soon fall to the grave? Anyone clothed in mortality ought to also be clothed in humility.
Considering your brief little life will drive you to repentance. Repentance is our duty before God, but one we are prone to delay. But when we think of the uncertainty of time and its sheer brevity, we will see the danger of delaying. We will see we must repent today instead of procrastinating repentance into an uncertain future. Who knows if we will even be given the opportunity?
Considering your brief little life will compel you to resist temptation. Temptation is Satan’s chief work in this world and he does it with skill. Just as a farmer suits the seed to the soil, Satan fits his temptations to the person. He tempted Achan with wealth, David with beauty, Peter with safety. It is a hard business to resist temptation, but we arm ourselves for the conflict when we consider that our lives are short, that we will soon have to give an account at the judgment. How can we succumb to temptation in the morning when we may stand in God’s presence by the evening? Why should we sin today when we may die tomorrow?
Considering your brief little life will bring you comfort in sorrow. It will comfort you in all kinds of sorrow, but especially the sorrow of grieving for loved ones who have died. True faith does not banish grief, but it does put boundaries on it. We may still weep, but we will not weep as those who have no hope. We can put aside the bitterness of grief when we consider that time is short and that our every loss will soon be made up in heaven.
Considering your brief little life will help you value grace. Time is short, but grace is forever. Grace does not whither with death but is transplanted into better, richer soil. Grace is not a lease that expires but an inheritance that lasts forever. Grace will outlast time and continue forever into all eternity. Considering your brief little life will help you value the grace that sustains it from today and into forever.
One of my favorite things to do is to rewrite some of the dated work of the Puritans. These points are drawn from a funeral sermon Thomas Watson preached in 1676.