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Short Timer

 

Over 50 years ago I was in the Army. A common expression at the time was being a “short timer”. This referred to someone who had just a month or so before they got out of the Army. When a person got down to around three months left to go, he was called a “two digit midget”.

Now, getting closer to the end of life, I see a parallel in that an end is approaching and becoming increasingly tangible. While I was eager to get out of the Army, I am not so eager to leave this life. For the Christian there is both an attraction for the world to come and a desire to be useful here. Paul gives us a picture of his thoughts on this;

For me to live is Christ [His life in me], and to die is gain [the gain of the glory of eternity]. If, however, it is to be life in the flesh and I am to live on here, that means fruitful service for me; so I can say nothing as to my personal preference [I cannot choose], But I am hard pressed between the two. My yearning desire is to depart (to be free of this world, to set forth) and be with Christ, for that is far, far better; But to remain in my body is more needful and essential for your sake. - Philippians 1:21-24 (Amplified Version)

People who do not have faith in Jesus (without hope in the world Eph. 2:12) would be expected to fear the end of life or even to deny its approach. However, the Christian has assurance and comfort that, having been joined to the body of Christ, he will rejoice in seeing his Savior at the resurrection.

Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is. - 1 John 3:2

The bible says that the glory of young men is their strength (Prov. 20:29). Those of us in our sunset years know that strength fades and sometimes painfully. Our increasing physical maladies also serve to help us look forward to letting go of this world for the joy of eternal life.

Looking back over a long life carries with it many regrets. We can wish we had done better rasing our children, loving our spouse, been more kind to our friends, and taken advantage of opportunities to serve our Lord. When we meet our brothers and sisters in heaven, we might expect to be overcome with sorrow for not only the wrongs we have done, but the rights we failed to do. However, greater than all our present and future regrets is the love of Christ that washes away all of our sins. It is because of this that we can look at those we have wronged and those who have wronged us with his love which is greater than all our sin.

We can get a little of this transcendent perspective by looking at our own life and seeing things like foolish ambitions and that for which we strived only to reach old age and understand things of real value. How much more precious as the years pass by is hearing something like “I love you” from your child than social position, wealth, or achievement. Those who can see this ultimate reality often busy themselves in “storing up treasures”.

Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also. - Matthew 6:19-21

 

  

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