Essays on Faith: Counting down to the appointment

We focus on Jan. 1 as the beginning of a new year, but every day begins a new year for each of us.

A good Bible verse to apply at a young age is “So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom” (Psalms 90:12).

While searching the internet for a resource to determine the day of the week for any date, I found a calculator which quickly determines how many days an individual has been alive.

This caused me to think about what I have accomplished so far and those thoughts naturally led to pondering how many days I have left.

Life insurance companies plan their bottom line based upon the probability of the life spans of policy holders. It is mathematically predictable how long we are expected to live. The Social Security Department publishes a chart of individual life expectancy after reaching the age of 65. It is an eye opener. If you hope that eating correctly, exercising, and other good personal attributes will add a few years, there is a detailed life expectancy calculator at https://www.ssa.gov/planners/lifeexpectancy.html.

Using simple mathematics, I subtracted my age from the age I likely will die, then I multiplied that answer (years I have left) by 365 days (I did not concern myself with leap years). That gave me the total days I have left. If you want to avoid the math work, this resource allows calculations between dates: http://www.timeanddate.com/date/duration.html.

Actually, when I retired, I did the math and then placed a hand counter on my desk. I engraved it with the number of my likely remaining days. Each morning, when I check my calendar activities for the day, I click the counter. It tends to keep me on task.

All of the above provides a stronger impact if we look at the subject Biblically.

“The days of our years are threescore years and ten; and if by reason of strength they be fourscore years, yet is their strength labour and sorrow; for it is soon cut off, and we fly away” (Psalms 90:10).

So, God gives us 70 years (80 if we are healthy) as a guideline of temporal life expectancy. Some do not make it to 70 and a few make it longer than 80. Look at your family and think of those you know who made it to 80. Also, note that God did not promise us that our years would be easy.

We know (but usually put out of our minds) that we always are a heartbeat, or drunk driver, away from death. “Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away” (James 4:14).

Our time on earth is less than a blink compared to what awaits us. We can choose to spend temporal time chasing personal goals and possessions or we can seek to serve God for eternity.

It will not be long until we will stand before our Creator and be held accountable for our decisions of how we spent our time. Martin Luther said, “If we are correct and right in our Christian life at every point, but refuse to stand for the truth at a particular point where the battle rages — then we are traitors to Christ.”

The Bible makes it clear that “we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out” (I Timothy 6:7).

The Lord Jesus said:

“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,” (Matthew 6:19-20).

“And I will say to my soul, Soul, thou hast much goods laid up for many years; take thine ease, eat, drink, and be merry. But God said unto him, Thou fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee: then whose shall those things be, which thou hast provided?” (Luke 12:19-20)

Funerals for Monday, January 27, 2020

Davis, Valerie - 11 a.m., Cunningham Memorial Park, St. Albans.

Hamrick, Leonard - 1 p.m., Waters Funeral Chapel, Summersville.

Hughes Jr., Denver - 1 p.m., Curry Funeral Home, Alum Creek.

Keen, Cora - 2 p.m., Tyler Mountain Memory Gardens, Cross Lanes.

Lazear, Elizabeth - 7 p.m., Keller Funeral Home, Dunbar.

Masters, Delores - 1 p.m., Glen Ferris Apostolic Church, Glen Ferris.

Milroy, Miller - 11 a.m., Simons-Coleman Funeral Home, Richwood.

Petro, Edith - 11 a.m., Cunningham-Parker-Johnson Funeral Home, Charleston.

Phelps, Herbert - 2 p.m., Chapman Funeral Home, Hurricane.

Stanley, Gary - 1 p.m., Pryor Funeral Home, East Bank.

Stewart, Donna - 1 p.m., First United Methodist Church, South Charleston.

Walker, Iva - 1 p.m., Roush Funeral Home, Ravenswood.

Wilkinson, Catharine - Noon, Raynes Funeral Home, Eleanor Chapel.

Williams, Joseph - 3 p.m., Tyler Mountain Memory Gardens, Cross Lanes.