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Living in Brevity and Monontony

In my early teenage years, as I became more aware of suffering in this world, I began to consider the brevity of life. As I did, God became more precious to me, and I felt a greater pull to not live in vanity. Even now, when life’s few years come to mind I feel regretful over the futile cares I’ve had throughout the day. Suddenly, I’m not as concerned about the dirty dishes and the minor inconveniences to my schedule. I see all of my troubles, even the more difficult ones, as light and momentary. I begin to think of the things above. I feel as if all of my efforts are small yet incredibly meaningful. They’re small because God may instantaneously thwart my efforts, finding it good that my life's shorter than I desire. Meanwhile, my efforts are incredibly meaningful as every moment of my life is to be lived unto the glory of God–that is my purpose. Knowing the brevity of life leads to godliness; it's something we should often consider. For the Psalmist says, “So teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom” (Ps. 90:12).

Numbering the days causes the heart to consider the purpose of its continued beating. At one point in life, nearly every person considers their purpose. The word is even used outside of Christian circles. The non-Christians are right to say, “Your life has a purpose. Live it.” Yet, they are deathly wrong in their definition of purpose. I say deathly because the message the world preaches regarding life’s purpose is a road of destruction that leads to eternal death. How we define the purpose of life is no trivial matter.

However, the message of the world seems so close to the Christian message, how can it be deathly? It’s not as if all non-Christians endorse hateful speech, racism, and abuse. Many in the world teach that people should love themselves and be kind to others. It’s tempting to think that perhaps the world has got it right this time as love and kindness are also taught by Christians.

Indeed, Christians ought to live their lives in love–glorifying God. That’s the Christian’s purpose and greatest commandment, but it differs from the love the world speaks of. How should we live this brief life? Loving the Lord our God with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength and loving our neighbor as ourselves (Matt. 22:37-39). That’s to say–your life’s purpose is to strive to love God in all your ways and choose to consider the needs of others more significant than your own (Phil. 2:3). This task may seem daunting and undoable, especially for those of us who live somewhat ordinary or monotonous lives. Does this mean every Christian should move to Haiti to be a missionary? Life is short, so should we forsake ordinary duties to follow this command? What does this say about the non-Christian life if they don’t follow this command?

Firstly, the message to the non-Christian is–if you don’t love the Lord then repent and believe. He is the only way, the truth, and the life. Don’t live your life in vain pursuit of things that will pass. Your life is here today and gone tomorrow, so chose today whom you will serve. Act with urgency.

To the Christian, there is also a call for urgency. Scripture describes life as a mere breath and a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes (Ps. 39:5, Jam. 4:14). We ought to glorify God this very day. Meanwhile, we should prepare to live a future that pleases God, while knowing that we may not enter into that future on earth.

How does this shift our day-to-day life? If today consists of monotonous duties then we do them unto the glory of God by refusing to view our tasks as ordinary. Every duty we’re able to fulfill is grace.

In light of this, no task of ours is dull. The laundry must be done so we thank our Savior for the ability to move our hands in a folding motion, and when we find hair on the folded clothes we thank God that He is aware of all the hairs on our head. The emails must be sent, so we pray for the salvation or sanctification of the people we message, and we thank God for His ability to do such things. The math homework must be completed, so we thank God for our intellect as it shows we were made in His image. And when we take out the trash and see a sparrow we gaze upon it and recall the sovereignty and love of God, for He has said that no sparrow falls apart from his will, and as He cares for the birds He cares for us much more (Matt. 10:29, Matt. 6:26).

All of these monotonous tasks completed with praise will help us prepare for our greater duty. That is–to build up believers and share the Gospel. How much more would we encourage our friends or tell them of Christ if we numbered our days and enjoyed God in all we do? Could we then look to another person made in God’s image and say, “I will wait until tomorrow to tell them of Jesus, for I must get to this email”? Of course not! For we’d have our hearts set on the brevity of life and the glory of God. If we view our monotonous tasks as great we most certainly won’t view the meeting of a friend as anything short of an opportunity to glorify God.

In this short life, may we strive to “preach the Gospel, die, and be forgotten”. Certainly, some are called to be pastors, deacons, and missionaries, but we don’t need to move to Haiti to live our brief life unto God’s glory. Perhaps God’s will is for us to work a monotonous job and save funds for those who do go to Hati or serve as pastors in the church. We chose to not live in vain pursuit by loving the Lord and our neighbor. When we desire otherwise we say to our heart, “No, I will not dwell on foolish things nor partake in vanity; rather, I will glorify the Lord in everything I do.” This is man’s chief end–to glorify God and enjoy Him forever. May we strive to enjoy Him as we attend to our daily duties each day forth, for this brief life calls for action today.

“Satisfy us in the morning with your steadfast love,

that we may rejoice and be glad all our days.”

Psalm 90:14


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