New Message: "What is Your Life?"

Dr. Ray Pritchard
Dr. Ray Pritchard

The Bible has a lot to say about time. The most important thing it says is something we know already—that our time is limited. Time can be used or wasted, it can be invested or squandered, but either way, once used, it can never be regained. Time matters because we have such a limited supply.

How much time do you have left? Only God knows the answer. Psalm 90:12 says, "Teach us to number our days that we may gain a heart of wisdom." Have you ever numbered your days? That's hard to do because no one knows how many days they have left. You can find websites that use actuarial tables to help you discover how long you will live. You input your birthdate and a few other personal details, click a button, and a date pops up. Now, this isn’t the actual date of your death. It’s just an average for people who fit the details. Different websites use different formulas so the dates will vary quite a bit. I punched in the numbers for myself on one website, and this is what I discovered:

Ray Pritchard--July 8, 2025

I realize that date is based only on certain mathematical calculations, but it is sobering to think that if it is correct, I have about seven years to live. I found another website that says I will live until 2037. Then I found one that says I will live until I’m 90, which would be 2042.

2025 (That’s not long)
2037 (That’s 12 more years)
2042 (How do I get those “extra” five years?)

Unlike Abraham, who died when he was 175, I’m not counting on another 110 years. If I lived that long, I wouldn’t even reach the halfway point until 2040.

I’m thinking about all this because I celebrated my 65th birthday last September, which means I’m now on Medicare. That’s a sentence I never thought I’d write. I find myself looking at my life in shorter spans now. Marlene told me we should start thinking about life in 2-3 year chunks. There is no need to decide where we will be in ten years.

This much seems clear. When you hit 65, you’re closer to the end than to the beginning. Some may say this is morbid, but I think it’s the ultimate reality check. I might live 30 more years. Who knows? The answer is, God does. “All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be” (Psalm 139:16). The good news is, all my days are written in God’s book. The bad news is, I don’t know any way I can get a copy.

Because that’s true for all of us, we must walk by faith, knowing our future is in God’s hands.

Martin Luther said we should live with the day of our death constantly before our eyes. As I ponder that thought, the words of a famous hymn come to mind:

Time, like an ever-rolling stream,
   Bears all its sons away;
They fly forgotten, as a dream
   Dies at the opening day.

In light of that reality, we need to carefully consider what the Bible says in James 4:13-17. It begins by asking us to think about a common mistake very successful people make. 

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Originally published February 12, 2018.

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