So teach us to number our days, that we may present to You a heart of wisdom. (Psalm 90:12)
Everyone older than 50 knows the longer we live the faster time slips away from us. Inevitably by the time we reach 70 we’ll look back to when we were 30 and it will seem only a few months – not too unlike what James tells us in his two-thousand year old commentary on life: You are just a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away (James 2:14).
But after the vapor’s dispersed, Scripture tells us we will each stand before the judgment seat of Christ to give account of our lives and lifestyles (2 Corinthians 5:10).
That is why the Lord Jesus warned us: “Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who enter through it. For the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, and there are few who find it. (Matthew 7:13-14)
In Luke’s gospel, Jesus uses stronger language. He says “Strive to enter through the narrow door, (Luke 13:24). The word here for ‘strive’ is the Greek agōnizomai. It’s the same word from which we get the English agonize.
In other words, entering that narrow gate is not something we can do as an afterthought. It is not something we can put off until we have time.
In his book, Time for God, Fr. Jacques Philippe wrote: “No one ever starved to death because he didn’t have enough time to eat.” Yet how many Christians remain spiritually anemic because they think – or they choose to think, “Heaven can wait”? And so they don’t take time to pray. Or read the Scriptures. They ignore the Holy Spirit’s call to know God better.
What a foolhardy way to spend our fleeting years, years that will eventually disappear into a vapor.
But we all have time – we all make time – for things we consider important. And for the child of God, what can be more important than getting to better know our Savior with each passing page of the calendar?
The choice is always before us: The small gate or the wide one, the narrow path or the broad. In what will seem only a month from now when you turn 70 or 80, you will not want to look back and wish you’d taken the time to choose the right gate years earlier.
Number your years wisely. Get to know the One you call your Lord. Here is a good way to start your renewed journey: Make the time for 15 minutes in the morning and 15 in the evening for Bible reading and prayer, for getting to better know your Savior. What He said to His people through the Hebrew prophet Isaiah holds true in this century: “Seek the Lord while He may be found; call upon Him while He is near. Let the wicked forsake his way and the unrighteous man his thoughts; and let him return to the Lord . . . .” (Isaiah 55:6-7).