The Brevity of Life

Elvira Tovstiga

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Man’s existence: Think about it for a moment. Here on earth, the measure of his existence is scripturally described as an “handbreadth” or a “vapor,” and the rapidity of its flight as “swifter than a weaver’s shuttle” or “as a tale that is told.” At its very longest then, man’s earthly existence is exceedingly short, and sooner rather than later, he is summoned to leave behind his puny, little heap of treasures—his money in the bank, his sports car in the garage, his yacht in the marina, his Persian rugs in the living room, his china in the cabinet, his executive seat in the company, and all else he has attained to during his brief existence here on earth.

Behold now, as he enters the portals of timelessness to an unchanging, never-ending existence in the realms of eternity. Eternity. Oh, solemn thought! It is immeasurable, even unfathomable! Despite its incalculability, assume a thought-provoking argument similar to that used by Philip Yancey: How utterly absurd and contrary to reason, that man should spend most of his time and energy in pursuing, building up, and embracing the earthly, the temporal, the perishable which makes up (for the sake of human reasoning) a mere 1% of his existence! Grasp it, if you can, that the remaining 99% of his existence takes place in eternity! How can it be, that he prepares so meagerly for his “long home!” How can it be that he is not more earnestly mindful of the fact that he is but traveling through this world (how much furniture does a traveler need?) on a swift probationary flight?

“Pilgrims, don’t drive your stakes too deep. We’re leaving in the morning.”

“Treasures in heaven are laid up only as treasures on earth are laid down.”

“But this I say, brethren, the time is short: it remaineth, that both they that have wives be as though they had none; And they that weep, as though they wept not; and they that rejoice, as though they rejoiced not; and they that buy, as though they possessed not; And they that use this world, as not abusing it: for the fashion of this world passeth away.” 1 Cor. 7:29-31.

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