“Man’s days are determined; you have decreed the number of his months and have set limits he cannot exceed.” – Job 14:5
Next month will mark the two-year anniversary of my father’s death. The following month will mark the three-year anniversary of my mother’s death. Maybe it’s the experience of losing my parents so recently that’s made me more aware of others who are dealing with illness and death in their families. Or maybe it’s a simple fact that the older we get the more funerals we attend. Whatever the reason, every few weeks I seem to hear about the illness or death of someone I know. Especially hard hitting are the illnesses and deaths of young people. A former co-worker’s wife died from cancer recently, leaving behind two teenage children. Another former co-worker’s 41-year old cousin died from a heart attack recently after going for a routine run, leaving behind a wife and three young children. And one of my wife’s former co-workers recently lost a son to the war in Iraq.
The Bible teaches that God knows how long each of us will live. Perhaps it’s the fact that we do not share in such knowledge that often leaves us living in denial about the brevity of our lives.
There’s a popular suggestion among motivational speakers to imagine that you’ve been given one year to live. “How would you change your life?” they ask. I used to find that exercise somewhat trite. Death was not on my radar screen. But it’s become more meaningful of late.
Financially speaking, if you were given one year to live, what would you do differently? Is there a cause you’ve been meaning to support someday, one day? Is there a different vocation that’s been tugging at your heart that saving up a year’s worth of expenses would give you the opportunity to pursue? Is there a debt someone owes you that God is prompting you to forgive? For anyone who’s aware that their days are determined, these questions are anything but trite.