BY PASTOR T. O. BANSO
“Lord, remind me how brief my time on earth will be. Remind me that my days are numbered – how fleeting my life is” (Psalm 39:4 New Living Translation).
What the psalmist said in the scripture is true for you and me. The time God has given to each person to live on earth is brief. It doesn’t matter the number of years. Our time on earth is brief. Some people still have more years to live on earth than they’ve lived. Some others have fewer years to live than they’ve lived. In totality, our time on earth is brief and every passing day is leading us to the grave. No wonder the writer of Psalm 90 says in verse 12, “Teach us to use wisely all the time we have” (Contemporary English Version).
Unfortunately, it appears to me that many human beings live in denial of the bitter truth of the brevity of human life. If indeed we accept this truth, each person will daily sit down to examine his or her life and adjust to the truth of the Word of God. If we truly know that our time on earth is brief, why do many people still engage themselves in rabid pursuit of wealth accumulation? Why the unbridled desire to build financial empire through fraudulent means? Why the race to criminally acquire worldly properties that that the owners will have only a brief time to ‘enjoy’?
Psalm 39:4, you read earlier, said, “Lord, remind me how brief my time on earth will be. Remind me that my days are numbered – how fleeting my life is” (New Living Translation). Do you know your time on earth is brief and your days are decreasing every day?
Billy Graham, who went to be with Lord in 2018, said that the greatest surprise about life he had found was the brevity of it. Hear him: “‘What is the greatest surprise you have found about life?” a university student asked me several years ago. ‘The brevity of it,’ I replied without hesitation….Time moves so quickly, and no matter who we are or what we have done, the time will come when our lives will be over. As Jesus said, ‘As long as it is day, we must do the work of him who sent me. Night is coming, when no one can work’ (John 9:4)”
Your days are a shadow
The Bible compares the life of human beings to breath or vapour or shadow. That means human life is brief and temporary. Life is short. Psalm 144:3-4 says, “O LORD, what are mortals that you should notice us, mere humans that you should care for us? For we are like a breath of air; our days are like a passing shadow” (New Living Translation).
How long does a shadow last? Very brief! Psalm 109:23 says, “I am gone like a shadow when it lengthens; I am shaken off like a locust” (New King James Version). Job 8:9 also talks about human life being like a shadow. “For we were born yesterday, and know nothing, because our days on earth are a shadow” (Job 8:9 New King James Version). Life is short. Even if you live for 120 years; it’s still short, compared to eternity.
Human foolishness lies in not relating appropriately to this Biblical truth about the brevity of life. Human beings live, struggling to acquire, by hook or by crook, what they don’t need, and what they won’t enjoy for long. Human beings keep chasing and accumulating worldly possessions as if they’re going to live on earth forever. This is foolishness!
I want to show you more from my opening text, Psalm 39. Hear what the psalmist said in verses 5 and 6 of Psalm 39: “You made my life short, so brief that the time means nothing to you. Human life is but a breath, and it disappears like a shadow. Our struggles are senseless, we store up more and more without ever knowing who will get it all” (Contemporary English Version). Did you see the foolishness of human beings? What’s the wisdom in the senseless acquisition provoked by GREED rather than NEED, as seen in grand corruption in some societies? That is not to justify corruption because of need.
Psalm 119:19 says, “I am here on earth for just a little while” (Today’s English Version). If we’re here just for a little while, why do a few people engage in the selfish grabbing of what belongs to all, as if they’ll live forever? Though people, young and old, die every day, human beings have failed to learn that the unhealthy pursuit of worldly possessions, to the detriment of their souls and well-being of fellow humans, is foolishness.
In Luke 12:15, Jesus said to the crowd, “Don’t be greedy! Owning a lot of things won’t make your life safe” (Contemporary English Version). Nothing can be truer than that. 1 Timothy 6:10 says, “For the love of money is the root of all kinds of evil. And some people, craving money, have wandered from the true faith and pierced themselves with many sorrows” (New Living Translation).
Be wise; don’t be foolish. Don’t let your focus be making a living without living for God! Please, see 1 Corinthians 7:31, from The Message translation of the Bible: “Deal as sparingly as possible with the things the world thrusts on you. This world as you see it is on its way out” (1 Corinthians 7:31 The Message).
Maybe you’re struggling so much in order to become a millionaire or billionaire! You may have listened to some motivational speakers or preachers who have fired you up to become a millionaire and multi-millionaire! Not everybody will become a millionaire or multi-millionaire. It doesn’t work like that. Many people have been driving themselves crazy; yet, they’ve achieved nothing. The more they’ve been running after money and material possessions, the more these things have been running away from them. Such people face the danger of eventually driving themselves to hell fire.
Living your life for what God created you to do is what is important, and not raking in millions! Don’t reduce life to only money and material possessions. Yes, money is one of the important things we need to fulfill our destiny, but we’re not to pursue it and abandon God’s purpose for our lives. Some even deceive themselves that they’ll acquire money first, and then return to fulfill their destiny later. What a great delusion!
Find out your calling and fulfill it. You have a brief time to spend on earth. Your destiny was written in eternity past, but you don’t have eternity to fulfill it – a man of God said this, in his book, many years ago.
The best way you can live your life is to live it for the purpose God created you. It’s not to keep running after money or material things. Even those who’ve been able to acquire them, legally or illegally, at the expense of their relationship and fellowship with God, don’t have peace. They don’t have any assurance that they won’t lose them. Take stock of your life today; don’t live as a fool. The rich man in Luke 12 was called a fool. Verse 20 says, “But God said to him ‘You fool! Tonight you will die then who will get what you have stored up?”(Contemporary English Version)
Hear the prayer of the psalmist in Psalm 119:36: “Turn my mind in the direction of Your injunctions, and not towards money-making” (The Psalms for Today: A New Translation from Hebrew into Current English). The Living Bible renders the same verse thus: “Help me to prefer obedience to making money!” Ecclesiastes 5:10 says, “He who loves silver will not be satisfied with silver; nor he who loves abundance, with increase. This also is vanity” (New King James Version). That doesn’t mean you should avoid doing legitimate work or business to earn money. It doesn’t mean you should hate money or impoverish yourself. It means you shouldn’t forsake God and pursue making money. You shouldn’t pursue money, violating the Word of God. Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all you need from day to day shall be added to you (Matthew 6:33).
Your real value in life is not determined by your valuables! Please, don’t be a fool. Find out God’s purpose for your life and begin to fulfill it. Paul said, “Remind Archippus to do the work that the Lord has given him to do” (Colossians 4:17 Contemporary English Version). This message is God’s reminder to you.
Solomon realized the foolishness of acquisition of earthly possessions while neglecting God. He concluded that it didn’t make any sense – it’s meaningless; it’s like chasing the wind (Ecclesiastes 2:17-26). The final conclusion of the book of Ecclesiastes is that the duty of every person is to fear God and obey His commands (Ecclesiastes 12:13).
Whatever one gathers can be scattered while one is still alive or can be squandered by those who inherit one’s wealth. There are millionaires who have become ex-millionaires, while they’re still alive! Some millionaires bequeathed great wealth to their children, but the children are now wallowing in poverty. They moved from great wealth to great poverty! Proverbs 23:5 says, “In the blink of an eye wealth disappears, for it will sprout wings and fly away like an eagle” (New Living Translation).
Conclusion: It’s true that money is important, but God’s purpose for one’s life is far more important. Without the discovery of God’s purpose for one’s life, one cannot even utilize money correctly. There’s bound to be abuse, which can lead one to hell fire.
James 4:14 says human life is nothing more than mist that appears for only a little while before it disappears. Your life is brief; therefore, use it for what God created you to do on earth. You’ll not live for eternity on this earth as it is at present; an end will come one day and you’ll ultimately give account to Him. Hebrews 9:27 says, “Each person is destined to die once and after that comes judgment” (New Living Translation). Of what benefit it is to acquire all earthly possessions and end up in hell fire? (Mark 8:36) It is meaningless. Think! Stop chasing the wind. “Learn to hold loosely all that is not eternal” (Agnes Maude Royden).
If you’re not born again, you need to make yourself ready for eternity. I urge you to take the following steps:*Admit you’re a sinner and you can’t save yourself and repent of your sins. *Confess Jesus as your LORD and Saviour. *Renounce your past way of life – your relationship with the devil and his works. *Invite Jesus into your life. *As a mark of seriousness to mature in the faith, start to attend a Bible-believing, Bible -teaching church. There you will be taught how to grow in the Kingdom of God.
Kindly say this prayer now: O LORD God, I come unto you today. I know I am a sinner and I cannot save myself. I believe that Jesus is the Son of God who died on the cross to save me and resurrected the third day. I repent and confess my sins. I confess Jesus as my LORD and Saviour and surrender my life to him today. I invite Jesus into my heart today. By this prayer, I know I am saved. Thank you Jesus for saving me and making me a child of God.
I believe you have said this prayer from your heart. Congratulations! You will need to join a Bible believing, Bible teaching church in your area where you will be taught how to live your new life in Christ Jesus. I pray that you flourish like the palm tree and grow like the cedar of Lebanon. May you grow into Christ in all things and become all God wants you to be. I’ll be glad to hear from you. May the LORD be with you.
T. O. Banso is the President, Cedar Ministry International, Abuja, Nigeria.
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