How much time do we have? That is how long will my life be? Recently, as a bit of fun I checked out a website that predicted the date of my departure from this Life; you had to tick lots of boxes answering many questions from “have I been a smoker” to “ do you exercise” . After completing everything and submitted it to the software program, I was advised that I had approximately 6 more years to go. I then looked up another similar program and that gave me 10 more years so I am going with that one.
Of course no one knows how long they will live, only God has that date in His hands and even then there is the story of the King Hezekiah who was granted 15 extra years through his prayers and tears – so it seems a lifespan can be even extended by prayer to God our Father.
The bible tells us our life is as “vapour that appears for a moment and vanishes away”, it describes our lifespan as “one watch of the night”. Life is described as a brief moment, just a blip on the radar, and yet it is the most precious of gifts because we are made in the image of God. We are given the freedom to choose what we will do with this precious gift.
Ultimately, it is how we use the years we are given for they are soon gone. To Love, to forgive, to show compassion, is what counts according to Jesus in the parable of the sheep and goats -
“For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me”
We will never do enough for we sin, and even at our best we could do better, however we are called to the life of compassion and serving, and this is the sign or evidence that have received Gods grace in Christ.
Our service is a response to Gods love, not a new burden to earn favour that replaces the old testament Law . So we have freedom to fail but not freedom to “not try”. This is the substance of the Pauline understanding of Grace, where he makes it very clear that nothing can add to God’s grace, and as we have received grace we are to respond by loving service to others, even our enemies.