Vol. 6, No. 11
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Stretch out your palm. Separate your fingers to their widest; hold them as far apart as you can. Study what you see and then consider: Scripture says that's a picture of human longevity. David wrote, "LORD, make me to know my end, and what is the measure of my days, that I may know how frail I am. Indeed, You have made my days as handbreadths, and my age is as nothing before You; certainly every man at his best state is but vapor" (Psalm 39:4-5). That's right. Life at its best is little more than an abbreviated measurement--a handbreadth.
Jeanne-Louise Calment would have agreed. According to Guinness, she was born in Arles, France on February 21, 1875 and died on August 4, 1997. Do a little math in your head and you'll discover that she lived 122 years, 164 days. Whew! She lived a long time, didn't she? Not really. Not when you consider life when compared to eternity. As long as Jeanne-Louise lived, hers was but a handbreadth.
Dear friend, in terms of the clock, your life is ever-so-short (Job 14:1-2; James 4:14). Assuming you escape the ravages of disease, you don't perish in some untimely accident and your parents had extremely good genes, it's still doubtful that you'll live as long as Jeanne-Louise Calment. And even if you do, it will be but a handbreadth.
Consider: What are you doing with your time (Ephesians 5:15-16; Colossians 4:5; Psalm 90:12)? Paul Meyer wrote, "Most time is wasted, not in hours, but in minutes. A bucket with a small hole in the bottom gets just as empty as a bucket that has been deliberately kicked over."
Do you often look back at the end of a day and say, "I didn't get anything done"? Are you accomplishing the really important things (John 9:4)? Are you "run ragged" with urgent matters? If you were to die right now, could you say, "I didn't neglect the most important things in my life"? Doctor Jesus had a very full patient schedule (Mark 6:31) and yet he finished his job (John 19:30).
Max Anders observed, "It matters to God how we use our time. It is something which He has given us. We don't own it. We are responsible to manage it for Him. It doesn't mean we must always work. Part of our time should be used in recreation and rest, the development and enjoyment of relationships. But we must be aware of how we use our time, and use it wisely" ("Be A Steward," 30 Days to Understanding the Bible, 81).
Time is limited. It is like a handbreadth. Use it well. "Moreover it is required in stewards that one be found faithful" (1 Corinthians 4:2).