Many of you read about my automobile accident on May 5. Thankfully, I was not seriously hurt, but I feel like the protective hand of God gave me a reprieve from death. Since then I have earnestly tried to savor the experiences of each new day with a greater appreciation than ever.
I realize every day is a day of grace and each day must be lived to the fullest. Time flies (tempus fugit) and every moment is precious.
Our granddaughter, Hayley, was married on Saturday evening. That means I am now living with someone’s grandmother-in-law. As I sat by my wife at the wedding I thought of our wedding day more than 53 years ago and it seemed like yesterday. I thought about Miriam’s (our daughter and the mother of the bride) wedding day. It seemed like it happened earlier that morning although it was 25 years ago.
The day Hayley was born I called the chairman of the pastor search committee and told him I would accept his committee’s invitation to preach a trial/introductory sermon at Eastside Baptist Church in Marietta. That was over 22 years ago, but it seems like it was just after lunch today.
It seems like Hayley and all ten of our grandchildren have grown up in an instant and with the blink of an eye we could have missed them altogether.
As an English Literature major in college I am reminded of a line in Shakespeare’s Macbeth: “Out, out, brief candle! Life’s but a walking shadow, a poor player that struts and frets his hour upon the stage, and then is heard no more.”
James, the Apostle, was absolutely right when he said, “What is you life? It is even as a vapor, that appears for a little time, and then vanishes away.” The Greek word for “vapor” or “mist” is atmis and only appears twice in the New Testament. The other time it appears is in Acts 2:19 and there it is translated “smoke.”
A vapor is here one moment and gone the next. It’s like the steam coming out of a teakettle on the stove.
The Bible’s pictures of life are numerous and luminous: “Our days on earth are like a shadow” (I Chr. 29:15; “My days are swifter than a weaver’s shuttle” (Job 7:6); “Remember, of God, that my life is but a breath” (Job 7:7); “My days are swifter than a runner” (Job 9:25); “For my days vanish like smoke” (Ps. 102: 3); “My days are like the evening shadow; I wither away like grass” (Ps. 102:11).
The truth is that time flies, so hold on to the people closest to you, because you never know what can happen in the next minutes, or hours, or days. Appreciate the small things people do for you. Realize that every bit of kindness can go a mile.
Live life to the fullest, love what you have, laugh when you can, don’t be afraid to cry when the occasion calls for it, apologize when necessary, give generously to those you love and those in need, be quick to forgive, learn from your mistakes, don’t be afraid to take chances, remember every person is a precious soul for whom Christ died, live every moment to the fullest and remember you are Christ’s ambassador on this earth, so don’t fail to represent Him every day in every place to every person you meet.
Seneca, the stoic philosopher, statesman, and dramatist who was once a tutor and advisor to the Roman emperor Nero, once stated, “But life is very short and anxious for those who forget the past, neglect the present, and fear the future.”
The antithesis of Seneca’s statement would be, “But life is long and fulfilling for those who remember the past, optimize the present, and joyfully anticipate the future.”
First of all, life has provided many sweet and precious memories for me as I look at old photos, talk wistfully of days of yore, and relive many precious moments.
Second, the present is full of goodness and God continues to be gracious to open wonderful doors of opportunity for me. And, I can honestly say with the Apostle Paul, “That’s why we are not discouraged. No, even if outwardly we are wearing out, inwardly we are being renewed each and every day” (II Cor. 4: 16).
And finally, I can joyfully anticipate the future, because Jesus has washed away my sins and lives within my heart and given me a hope that is steadfast and sure so that in the darkest day I have that blessed assurance that causes the joy bells to ring in my heart, because “there is a land that is fairer than day and by faith I can see it afar; for the Father waits over the way, to prepare me a dwelling place there.”
In the meantime all I know is “the longer I serve Him, the sweeter He grows."