Brethren: Peace be with you!
As I approach my half century of life I began thinking about the lifespan for an American male like me. I've begun to reflect in all seriousness about my mortality. The Bible tells us that the typical lifespan for a man is 70 years, or 80 for "those who are strong" (Psalm 90:10). Contemporary scientific estimates fall within this ballpark for those of us who live in developed societies: between 75 and 80 years old. What does that mean?
- 75 years are almost 27,394 days; 657,450 hours; 39,447,000 minutes; or 2,366,820,000 seconds.
- 80 years are 29,220 days; 701,280 hours; 42,076,800 minutes; or 2,524,608,000 seconds.
Consider this: our bodies have a finite duration; the time of testing we call "life" may seem to us onerous, but it's nothing compared to the eternity awaiting us. The value of the time allotted to us lies in the choice we must make while living in time: we either choose for, or against, God. We will stick to that choice for all eternity.
Think for a moment how much we can do in a second: it takes a second - or less - to shoot someone and kill or main him, perhaps unjustly. In one second we insult or curse someone, wishing him evil. In one second we say or do something impure, a demeaning joke perhaps, or a fornication or adultery. It takes us a second to steal something or to lie. It takes us a second to look the other way when we see an evil taking place, or a poor person approaching us asking us for something to eat. It takes a second to decide to do nothing before these evils and continue on our own way. It takes us a second to call "good" something that's evil or "evil" something that's clearly good.
Consider that the Lord will hold us accountable for what we have done each and every second of our lives. Our lives develop at the speed of one second every second, but we barely notice. We like to think ourselves thoroughly good and near immortal.
What is this thing we call "the present moment"? You would be surprised, but scientists have determined that what we call "the present moment" is a summary our brain makes of the last 15 seconds of sense-perception, a composite of past and present images. How many "present moments" do we undergo?
- If you live to be 75 years old, you would have lived 155,788,000 "present moments."
- If you live to be 80 years old, you would have lived 168,307,200 "present moments."
Brethren, please remember that the grace God grants us in not to be found in the future, but in the present moment. It is in the present moment where you will find either salvation or condemnation.
One day we will render account to the Lord for each second, for each present moment we failed to make a moment of encounter with Him and with our neighbor.