If we were to compress an entire lifetime into 24 hours, for a person just getting out of college and getting into the world of work, it would be about 6:30 in the morning. By the time this same person reached age 40, it would be about twelve noon. At retirement, it would be about 6:00 in the evening; and beyond that, it could be 9:30, or 10:45, or 11:55. Nobody really knows for sure. What we do know is that biological life ends for everyone. But many of us are also convinced that the life we have with God, that never ends.
The Psalmist noted that “The days of our life are seventy years, or perhaps eighty, if you are strong” (Ps. 90:10a). Today, modern science has made it possible for people who live in the developed world to live a little bit longer, but the limit on human life noted by the Psalmist has remained largely unchanged.
The fact that biological life ends for everyone does not mean therefore that life is meaningless. Rather, it means that every moment is precious, and none of it is to be wasted. Death may be an occasion for sadness for those we love; but death itself is not tragic. The worst thing that can happen to any of us is not dying, but in wasting one’s life.
When we die, and our body is being taken to the cemetery for burial, there’s not going to be a semi-trailer containing all our possessions following us. Life is not just about how much we can accumulate for ourselves, the pleasures we have enjoyed, or about what we are able to achieve in our work or profession. Rather, what people remember most are the large and small ways their lives have been enlarged, enriched, and blessed by the one whose life has who has died.
So what would you like to do before you die? One good place to begin is to start each day by asking whom you might bless today: family members, co-workers, friends and acquaintances, and the larger world beyond. You can visit the sick, comfort the grieving, feed the hungry, encourage the young, or support a worthy cause. Whatever time you have left, use it to do some good.