Life is brief and time is a thief
by John G. Panagiotou
The Holy Scriptures teach us in the Psalm 90:10 that “Our days may come to seventy years, or eighty, if our strength endures; yet the best of them are but trouble and sorrow for they quickly pass, and we fly away.” If only we really would meditate on that teaching and seek Him in all the days we are allotted here on earth.
Recently, I heard a eulogy at a funeral given by a clergyman of higher rank. In his words, he alluded to the deceased individual having an untimely death, and he made no reference to the Resurrection of Christ. Needless to say, this perspective and omission is foreign to the mindset of orthodox Christian doctrine.
Conversely, Christian teaching instructs us that we do not die untimely deaths. They are quite timely in God’s time, though that time may not be according to our timetable. For the Christian, the resurrection of Christ is the nexus linchpin of our faith. For as the Apostle Paul teaches, if the resurrection has not taken place, then we are to be pitied above all people because we believe a falsehood when he writes, “And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins. Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ are lost. If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are of all people most to be pitied” (1 Corinthians 15:17-19).
It seems that society today even within the Church is satisfied with a nostalgic, candied view of Christianity instead of a truly transcendent Christianity. Why then are we surprised when we see over half the pews empty in the churches — even before the pandemic? Why then are we surprised when we see many of the youth fall away from the Church when they reach young adulthood?
As Christians, we need to be rooted in the Holy Scriptures. We need to be engaged in God-pleasing worship. We need to seek and serve the less fortunate than us. Otherwise, we are just paying lip service to our faith. It is fine to wax nostalgic on occasion about the “good old days.” However, as believers, we should be focused on the present and the future because the best days are yet to come.
Thus, we need to be mindful that our days are a numbered few in this life. We need to be prepared to meet Jesus at our death or at His Second Coming. Either way, we need to be prepared and sober in our living. Yet we are called to be joyful and not sorrowful. It is only in our understanding of this that we really can appreciate the gift of life in this present plane of consciousness and in the life to come.
John G. Panagiotou is a theologian, scholar, and professor. Dr. Panagiotou is the author of the best-selling book The Path to Oikonomia with Jesus Christ as Our Lighthouse [OCP Publications, 2020].