Psalm 39

Do What Matters
Pastor David Lyle

Read Psalm 39

You have made my days a few handbreadths, 
    and my lifetime is as nothing in your sight. 
Surely everyone stands as a mere breath. Psalm 39:5

Some of the first, and best, wisdom we received as new parents was to remember that the days are long, but the years are short. Yes, making it through a day with young children can be a long, arduous task. If you’re don’t pay attention, however, the years will fly by before you know it. Take time, therefore, to appreciate each day for what it is.

Of course, this isn’t only good advice for parents; it’s a reminder to each of us of the fleeting nature of this earthly life. Yes, the days pass one after the other such that it seems we will never run out. But our days will run out. The psalmist reminds us that, compared to the eternity of God, our lifetimes are nothing. Not more than a few handbreadths. A breath, exhaled and gone.

Our lives, however, are not so much compared to God’s eternity as they are held within God’s eternity. Yes, we will one day breathe our last, but so did God’s Son. Jesus joins us in our last exhalation that we might join in his final exultation. Freed from the need to hoard our earthly days, we can focus on the things that matter: sharing love, extending grace, practicing forgiveness, creating community.

We cannot put off death forever. What better way to spend our days than by living in the ways of God’s reign that awaits us? With the psalmist, we do not despair when we ponder our future or fate. The psalmist declares that our hope is in God. Let all our days, however many or few, begin and end in that hope.

God of grace, teach us to receive each day as a gift in which we can fully live, even as we await the fullness of life with you. Amen.

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