In October 2003 the widow of General Chaing Kai-Shek passed away at the age of 105 in New York. She lived to a “ripe old age” when we consider the threescore and ten mentioned in the Scriptures. However, in the overall picture, 105 years is not a vast amount of time. It matters not how long we live here on this earth, it will end in a comparatively short period of time. James states, “For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and vanisheth away” (Jas. 4:14). As we look back over our lives, we realize that the years seem to pass by with astonishing speed. It seems just yesterday that we were welcoming in the new year. When, as adults, we think back to our childhood, we remember that it seemed like special events during the year would never arrive but now they are here and gone before we realize it. We wonder, “Where have all the years gone? Why, it only seems like yesterday we were starting school and now look at us as we show the signs of growing older.”
Life is short, even at its longest. Thus, we need to make good use of the time that we have here on this earth. We may have the opportunity to live out a long life, but we have no guarantee of tomorrow. Indeed, we do not know what the morrow may bring, hence James’ statement, as we look at the context (4:13- 14).
We should not live our lives as though we have many tomorrows to make changes. All need to realize that “it is appointed unto men once to die” (Heb. 9:27). Yes, the day of our passing will come and after that will come the judgment. Once this life is over there will be no possibility of making changes in this life that we might be able to be with the Lord through eternity.
The rich man, in the story that Jesus told of the rich man and Lazarus (Luke 16), realized that he had lost his opportunities to set this life straight. He learned that here was indeed “a great gulf fixed” (16:26).
The rich man in the parable of Luke 12 was making plans for the future when God said unto him, “Thou fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee: then whose shall those things be, which thou hast provided?” (12:20). The rich man, in the parable, needed to learn that he could not pro-long his life because he wanted to do so. He had made plans for this life, but like the rich man in Luke 16 he had not made preparation for eternity.
What about you? Have you thought beyond this life and made preparation for the life that follows? If you have not made preparation, or if you once prepared and not have allowed the things of this life to crowd out the things of eternity, we would plead with you, while you have the time and the opportunity, to make ready for that life which is beyond this that you may indeed be ready to be with the Lord through all eternity.
Remember, “Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away” (Jas. 4:14). Do not put it off; make your preparation today.