The average life expectancy in the United States, according to the CDC, is currently 78.8 years. 78 years can feel like a very long time. But the older we get, the shorter it seems. Also, there is no guarantee that any one of us will live that long. In 2013, there were over 32,000 deaths from traffic accidents in the United States. And a traffic accident is just one of many ways we could die sooner than expected.
Even if we all live to be 100 years old, what is 100 years in the grand scheme?
King Solomon, who was renowned for his wisdom (1 Kings 4:30-34), wrote the book of Ecclesiastes about the vanity of life. The word “vanity,” found over and over in Ecclesiastes, comes from the Hebrew word “Hebel,” which refers to breath. The idea is that life, and the things we accumulate in life, vanish away very quickly, just like our breath does when we can see it on a cold day.
This message is coming from a man who had the means to experience anything he wanted in life (Ecclesiastes 2:1-11). It is coming from a man who God blessed with great wisdom (1 Kings 4:29), but whose worldly attachments turned his heart away from the Lord (1 Kings 11:3-4).
Solomon concluded his book about the vanity of life in this way.
The folly of focusing all of our attention on what we can gain here on earth is that the things we gain here on earth will not last. To make the most of our lives, we should focus instead on heaven.
Trying to wait until near the end of our lives to start serving God will not work. First, because we don’t know when the end of our lives will be. And second, because God saves the faithful (Romans 3:21-26). How faithful can we truly be if we intentionally ignore God’s expectations of us until we see death approaching? During His time on earth, Jesus had no interest in people who only wanted to follow Him at their own convenience (Luke 9:57-62).
The time to serve God is now.