Your days are numbered.
Such a morbid sentiment to open a posting with. It also happens to be true. And it’s a truth that is deserving of our full attention.
It pains me to witness hordes of men aimlessly living out their days on this earth as though time is their most plentiful resource. They piss it away, actively distracting themselves from all the sobering reminders of their impending mortality.
We’re all guilty of this at times. Myself included.
But what if I told you there’s immense value to be derived from living with a focus on the imminent fate of death that awaits us?
I’m not talking about wallowing in a depressive state over the undesirable end result of our humanity. What I’m describing is living with a more accurate understanding of just how valuable every minute we’re graced with truly is. By doing so we’ll naturally become more intentional about making the most of our time.
Living with a more accurate valuation of time inextricably motivates us to invest it in the things in life that matter most to us. This truth is most readily experienced when the death of a close friend or family member provides a brief moment of clarity regarding what we actually believe to be important in life.
When we’re vividly reminded of life’s approaching finale, much of what we thought to carry significance only moments before tends to fade into obscurity. The darkness of death drowns out the unimportant and intensifies the light radiating from all that we truly hold dear in life.
In his post, The Power of Emotions, Andrew Ruiz elucidates this concept with the following words: The beautiful thing about suffering is it demands an answer from you. You can’t hide from it. You can’t push it away. You can’t destroy it. Suffering is a precursor to transformation. It is the foundation of the greatest of triumphs. It is the winter that moves you, the thirst that drives you, the darkness that pushes you towards the light.
Paradoxically, the closer we approach living under death’s ominous shadow, the easier it is to take the actions that provide the greatest invigoration for our lives.
The catalyst is urgency; the result is wisdom.
Psalm 90:12 records a prayer of Moses in which he petitions the Lord to teach His people to number their days, that they may gain a heart of wisdom.
Understanding how limited our time is compels us to invest it wisely. Living under the auspices of our own mortality inevitably leads to living with greater intention.
Of course, there are those that will take this reality as reason to adopt the defeatist mindset of nihilism. However, just because it will all come to an end doesn’t justify living a miserable, meaningless existence until it does.
This is especially true for those of us that are convinced that life will only be enhanced once we exhale our final breath. It is my fervent belief that the impact each of us has on the world doesn’t end when our mortal bodies perish. No, the legacy we leave behind will continue to make waves long after we’re gone and will ripple throughout eternity.
How we spend our time in this life matters. And it probably matters much more than we know.
We can start to get an appreciation for the impact a life well lived might have on those around us by asking a few pointed questions.
How do you want others to remember you when you die? If you were to die today, would the mark you’ve left on your friends and family be the one you desire to leave them with? What would they say about you? Is it what you’d want them to say?
Have you taught your kids the values they’ll need to thrive in this world when you’re gone? Have you lived an example you’d be proud to have them follow?
These are heavy questions, yet they’re questions that must be asked. It’s the only way for us to assess if the finite number of days at our disposal are being invested wisely. Fortunately for us, you and I probably won’t die today. We probably won’t die tomorrow, either.
But, make no mistake. That day will come.
And, when it does, I want to be able to face it knowing I made the most of the time I was given to have a positive impact on the world. I want to leave confident that I put it all on the table and left the rest up to Almighty God.
Men, this requires us to live with boldness, conviction and courage as we await our final curtain call. Death will one day seize each and every one of us. But we must resist its constant beckoning to let our guard down so it can drive in its hooks before the appointed time.
We do this by living each moment with a mind on how short our time is and using this reality as fuel for intently focusing on our life’s mission. There’s no better means of living with maximal clarity, purpose, urgency and effectiveness of action.
We actively monitor the availability of all other resources in life. And we do so because it empowers us to make strategic decisions regarding how we’ll invest them. It only makes sense that we would do the same with our most valuable resource.
Yet, because our final hour is unknown, men often make the grave mistake of assuming it’s not worth considering at all. This strips time of its inherent value. I’m sure you can guess what happens when a resource is deemed valueless…
It gets thrown away. Wasted.
This is why the lives of men today are stagnant. They waste the days, months and years away in toxic relationships, watching porn, playing video games, getting worked up over sports, drinking to excess, and engaging in any number of frivolous distractions preventing them from pursuing their potential in life.
Spending the gift of time you’ve been given to live in folly is a travesty. It’s an indictment against your character as a man, your self respect, the lives of those that depend on you, your nation, and your Creator.
Be careful how you live. Don’t live like fools, but like those who are wise. Make the most of every opportunity in these evil days.1
Never forget, how you choose to invest your time is directly proportional to your ability to self-actualize your desires, positively impact the world around you, unlock your potential, and leave a lasting legacy that will bless others long after you’re gone.
Your days are numbered. Use them well.
– Craig James (@MasculineDesign)
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(1) Ephesians 5:15-16 (New Living Translation)