Summary: Part 1 in a series that examines things life is too short for.
Life’s Too Short To. . .Play It Safe, prt. 1
Life’s Too Short To, prt. 1
Wildwind Community Church
[video clip – “carpe diem” from Dead Poets Society]
It seems kind of depressing, but I’m convinced that the only way we can get our lives into proper perspective is to realize they won’t last long. I believe this is key to living the kind of lives we are meant to live – that without this understanding, we will squander our time, waste the moments we have been given, allow precious opportunities to slip through our fingers.
Psalms 90:12 (NIV)
12 Teach us to number our days aright, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.
Teach us to “number our days,” – make us aware of how fragile, how brief, and therefore how precious our lives are. And this is the key, this is the necessary condition for us living wisely. In the NLT, this same passage reads:
Psalms 90:12 (NLT)
12 Teach us to make the most of our time, so that we may grow in wisdom.
Numbering our days means making the most of our time. As depressing as it sounds, I believe this is where we must begin if we are to live life properly. Show me a person who thinks he has unlimited time and I’ll show you a person whose life isn’t coming to much.
I can prove it to you. Just watch Groundhog Day. When it appears that Bill Murray is literally going to have the same day over and over and over again, what does he invest his time doing? Everything, right? He becomes an expert at playing the piano, is able to time every single event of that day to the exact second, learns the likes and dislikes of every single individual he meets – but what is the end result for him? Depression, right? A nagging realization that no matter what he does, it doesn’t mean anything. There is no urgency, indeed no real point to any of his incredible accomplishments, because he’s just trying to stay busy passing infinite time. In fact toward the end, he uses all of his time trying to find a way to end his life – in other words, to bring time to an end for himself – because there’s simply no point to his life.
Teach us to number our days, or make the most of our time. The Apostle Paul echoes the sentiment found in the Psalm in Ephesians 5 where he writes:
Ephesians 5:15-17 (NIV)
15 Be very careful, then, how you live--not as unwise but as wise, 16 making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. 17 Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is.
In other words, Paul says that to live wisely is to number your days – to make the most of the time you have.
One of the supreme questions of life is: “How are we to live in light of the fact that our days are numbered?” Today we’re going to start a seven-week series called “Life’s Too Short To…” and we’re going to examine seven different issues in light of the fact that we have limited time on this earth, that our days are numbered. In this series we’ll look at how Life’s Too Short to: play it safe (today); carry a grudge; work all the time; live in the past; worry about the future; follow the crowd; and go it alone.
Folks, life’s too short to play it safe. We have two natures. We have a physical nature – a body, which seeks to preserve itself at all costs. Our bodies desire stability and safety. We fear sickness and disease and death because they are bad for our bodies, for our physical nature. But we also have a spiritual nature. And I believe that our spiritual nature craves and needs something very different. Now before I go any further, the question I have for you is: are you a spiritual being in a physical body, or are you a physical body that just happens to have a spiritual nature? The answer to that question is important. If you are a physical being that just happens to have a spiritual nature, then your spirit should be serving your body. If you are a physical being first and foremost, then preservation of your body – the priorities of the physical world like security and stability and safety – should be and will be the highest priorities in your life.
So is that what you are? Are you just a big lump of tissue, somehow organized in such a way that you happen to be aware of yourself, unlike dogs and cats and squirrels? Are you just kind of out there doing the equivalent of gathering nuts – slaving away to build your little Kingdom, protecting and preserving the things that bring your physical body a sense of security? If you are a physical being that just somehow happens to have a spiritual nature, then you don’t need to worry too much about things like sin, like taking risks, like the pursuit of personal growth – your spirit can just kind of be there to bring you moments of inspiration when you watch your kids play; to help you feel that maybe there’s some kind of meaning to your life. Your spirit can serve your physical body.