Other authors have dwelled on the majestic theme of human mortality, however, no treatise on this subject has reached the depth of the immortal words of Moses. In a dignified manner the ancient man of God enfolds the humbling truths relating to the finite nature of man. With sacred restraint and yet with bold directness Moses points to our sin and guilt as the cause of our human frailty. At the same time he directs our attention to the immutable God as the fountain of supreme comfort. In the light of our ill-desert and human frailty only one sourceof relief does fully satisfy: the infinite mercy of God in Christ. It lightens our burdens and tenderly heals our wounded hearts.
We spend our years as a tale that is told. These years are ours. Nevertheless, they do not belong to us in the sense that we have a right to them. Each year and even every day is a personal gift from God. Our years are private possessions. In this regard they are just like our home, our family, like our father and our mother: they belong to us in a very intimate way. They are our personal treasures and closely related to our joys and hopes. These valuable years are given to us, so that we may seek and find joy and fulfillment. True joy and peace may be found in God and Christ. When we may humble ourselves at the throne of God's mercy, we find help in the time of our need. We never experience a deeper satisfaction.
Our years are like a gold mine filled with precious treasures. At the same time they are like a swiftly flowing stream. When they are past, they are gone forever. The length of the number of our years varies from person to person. Some of us become old and others die in their youth. Our years are our seed-time, to be used in plowing and sowing for the harvest of eternity. Therefore we must utilize our years with a prayerful concern. All that we can do for our immortal souls must be done in the brief space of time that intervenes between the cradle and the grave.
We have a sacred responsibility regarding these priceless treasures of our years. We have to account for every period of time that is given to us. The manner in which we spend our time is recorded in the book of God's remembrance. Our years are ours so that we may seek the rest, joy and pardon that is in Christ.
In the light of all this, the solemn inquiry is: How do we spend our years? Moses answers, "We spend our years as a tale that is told." How brief, how fleeting is our life! It is like a tale, a story, that is quickly told. In our youth we may be looking forward to life! Then, and it seems only a little later, we awake from our dream, and discover that our life is almost spent. Somehow, our years speed away surprisingly fast. Once our years have disappeared, it is impossible to recall them. This should lead us to careful self-examination. God has spared us for a purpose, but do we use our time as the Lord requires?
At the beginning of this year a wide door of opportunities is still open before us. We may receive spiritual instruction in God's house and at home. God's children may seek to grow in knowledge and grace. There are rich occasions for prayer and meditation, for self-examination and self-correction. To the unconverted, there is the precious call to repentance before the door is shut. To our youth comes the loving and urgent invitation, "My son, my daughter, give Me thine heart."
When eternity comes, time shall be no more. It is well to reckon with that now. Sooner or later our life will come to an end. Then we will fully know the matchless value of the day of grace. As we spend time, so shall we spend eternity. If we live our present life in the darkness of sin and unbelief, then our life in the hereafter shall also be one of darkness. That darkness will be much deeper. It will never end! As long as time is permitted to us, the darkness of sin can still be driven away by the special grace and power of the Light of the world.
None use their time more wisely than they who utilize it for their own spiritual interests and that of others. They plead with the psalmist, "So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom" (Psalm 90:12). How have you spent the years that have so far been allotted to you? How will you use your time, now and in the future? How uncertain is its length. Oh spend it, searching the Scriptures, while pleading for the gracious assistance of the Holy Spirit. Learn to love God's glory; seek everlasting peace!