If you’ve ever participated in an Ash Wednesday service, you understand that the ashes are a symbol of our mortality. From dust we came and unto dust we shall return. That’s a sobering reminder, isn’t it? The fact is that your time on earth is limited. Job 14:5 says, “Man’s days are determined; You have decreed the number of his months and have set limits he cannot exceed.”
No matter how much this idea makes you squirm, it’s a fact. No matter who you are, how young or old, what measure of success you’ve attained, or where you live, mortality remains the great equalizer. With each tick of the clock, a moment of your life is behind you. Even as you read this paragraph, seconds passed that you can never regain. Your days are numbered, and each one that passes is gone forever.
If you’re like me, you may be tempted to view this reality as harsh and unwelcome, to let it overwhelm and even paralyze you. But that’s not my purpose – just the opposite. I’m convinced that, rather than inhibiting us to play it safe, embracing our time on earth as a limited resource has incredible power to liberate us. Most of us, if we knew we had a limited time on this earth, would live differently. We would be more authentic about who we are and more deliberate about how we spent our time. But such a contrast begs the question: What keeps us from living this way now?
So let me challenge you. Be brutally honest with yourself. Your time on earth is limited. Shouldn’t you start making the most of it?