“Lord, remind me how brief my time on earth will be. Remind me that my days are numbered—how fleeting my life is. You have made my life no longer than the width of my hand. My entire lifetime is just a moment to you; at best, each of us is but a breath.” –  Psalm 39:4-5.

Mary has a great line in the movie About Time. She says, “And so it begins, lots and lots of types of days.”  It doesn’t take too many days before we start to realize that our time on earth is short…and getting shorter each good day, bad day, and ordinary day. It’s sobering to read how often the Bible emphasizes the brevity and fragility of life. King David wrote: “…each of us is but a breath.” With the brevity of life in mind, Moses made this request of God: “Teach us to realize the brevity of life, so that we may grow in wisdom.” (Psalm 90:12) 

While on the surface, it seems a weird thing to understand that is exactly what we should do. We should all pray as David and Moses did for God’s help to understand the great value of our limited time and how to make the most of each day. How we use our time says a lot about our character and priorities. Most people think they have plenty of time and as a result waste some of it. The Bible equates time management with wisdom. Proverbs 4:7 says, “Getting wisdom is the wisest thing you can do! And whatever else you do, develop good judgment.” A big part of wisdom is knowing the value of time and learning to make the most of it. Both the Bible and history offer many examples of great accomplishments by people who used their time well.

Paul emphasized the seriousness of “redeeming the time”—making the most of our time and opportunities. “So be careful how you live. Don’t live like fools, but like those who are wise. Make the most of every opportunity in these evil days.” (Ephesians 5:15-16) In Colossians 4:5-6 he similarly wrote: “Live wisely among those who are not Christians, and make the most of every opportunity. Let your conversation be gracious and effective so that you will have the right answer for everyone.”

No matter how young and healthy you are, life is brief. James warns us: “Look here, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we are going to a certain town and will stay there a year. We will do business there and make a profit.” How do you know what your life will be like tomorrow? Your life is like the morning fog—it’s here a little while, then it’s gone. What you ought to say is, “If the Lord wants us to, we will live and do this or that.” (James 4:13-15).

We should not be concerned that life is short. Heaven awaits. Everlasting life. No shortage of time. No running out of time. No worries about time at all. Time that goes on and on and on. 

In the meantime, time flies. Make the most of each and every day!

Discussion Questions:

  1. How do you react when the Bible says we are but a breath?
  2. Ben Franklin said, “Life’s tragedy is that we get old too soon and wise too late.” Do you agree? If so, how does our lack of wisdom affect how we use our time?
  3. What does it mean to use our time wisely?
  4. What would you do differently this week if you knew your time was short?