Scripture urges us to acknowledge that our salvation is nearer than when we believed (Rom. 13:11), but many of us live as if we have all the time in the world. We reason that we will have time to share the gospel with a lost soul later, when we are more prepared; that we will give big when we start making big bucks; or we’ll teach a Sunday school class after we retire.
What if you had a visual measurement of your remaining number of days in this life? A friend of mine, Dr. Mark Rasmussen, has such a visual, and it’s not a crystal ball. Dr. Rasmussen has a large, clear jar filled (not so full now) with marbles; one marble for each week of the expected life of a non-smoking male, minus the number of weeks he has already lived. At the end of each week, he pulls a marble out of the jar. With each marble removed, the jar is more and more empty, representing less days of his life remaining.
Mentally go through these steps with me: reach for the large jar which now has fewer marbles than this time last year. Grab a cold marble, and remove it. This is subtraction. We don’t like subtraction, especially in those things we value most in life. We like addition and multiplication. We desire more!
But we cannot add any more marbles to our lives. Taking a marble out from among the others, perhaps even throwing it away, you can’t help but ask yourself, “Did I live fully for the Lord’s glory this week, or did I squander time and opportunities?”
A simple reminder of the brevity of life is a powerful motivation to live each day with purpose. How fast life seems to pass should not be a source of gloom or despondency. Instead, we should be excited that we have been entrusted with the gift of today.
One key to avoiding regrets is to purpose to stop assuming there will be time later to do those things the Lord has called you to do today. Many of us slumber in our Christian lives, seeking comfort, security, and ease. God’s Word gives us a wake-up call: “And that, knowing the time, that now is the time to awake out of our sleep: for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed. The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of light” (Romans 13:11-12).
When the last marble in your life’s jar is gone, what will you have when you stand before the Lord? Will you be like Paul who was able to say, “I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith” (2 Timothy 4:7)? Or will you stand ashamed because of all the opportunities to serve that you rejected; the impulses of the Holy Spirit that you ignored; and the lost souls you failed to reach? You don’t get to choose how many marble’s are in your life’s jar, but you do get to choose what you will do with those marbles. As you make your day-to-day decisions, remember the advice of missionary C.T. Studd who said, “Only one life,’twill soon be past, only what’s done for Christ will last.”