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Keep your Eye on the Brevity of Life

Gavin Peacock

My football career was over in a flash. I remember as a young professional player, 21 and newly married to Amanda, being taken under the wing of an older teammate at my club. He was 27 and had a lot of experience. I remember thinking “27! If I make it to that age as a player…no if I live to that age…I can die happy!” Of course, I was 27 very soon, then 30 then retiring at 35. It was over. Professional sport is a microcosm of life with huge ups and downs… and then the end.

Steve Jobs, the founder of Apple, said in 2005 at a Stanford Commencement address, “Remembering that I'll be dead soon is the most important tool I've ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life. Because almost everything — all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure - these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important. Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart.”

Of course your heart will lead you astray unless your heart is directed first to God. The goal of life is to glorify God and take joy in him above all else.

Don’t lose perspective by getting dragged into the business of life and forgetting that it will be over soon. At any age that’s hard to imagine, especially when you’re young. We all have a feeling of invincibility. Keep your eye on the brevity of life because it reminds you of what is truly important, it gives you perspective in trials, and it reminds you of your own limitations. You are not God. You are not immortal. You are a man or woman who will die. Ps. 90:12, “Teach us to number our days that we may gain a heart of wisdom”

Today I travel back to the UK for my uncle’s funeral. He died age 73 after a battle with cancer for the past ten years. My uncle was in my life all my life. He followed me all over the country to watch me play football. I had great affection for him. He was a professed unbeliever, but in his last weeks I was able to send him a letter from Canada and lay out the gospel; that because of God’s great love for sinners he sent his son Jesus Christ, fully God and fully man, to live a perfect life for us and who went willingly to die in the place of us taking the punishment we deserve for our sin against a holy and just God. This Jesus historically lived, died and rose again so that anyone who has faith in him shall not die under God’s judgment and go to Hell but will have forgiveness and everlasting life and joy with our heavenly Father. This is good news to all people everywhere, and my prayer is that in his last days, maybe in the small hours of the morning, my uncle remembered that letter and the gospel, and like the thief on the cross in Luke 23 he repented and believed. I know the God of the universe will always do what is just and I also hope I will see my uncle again.

Be wise: keep your eye on the brevity of life. In 100 years you will just be a fleeting memory in human history. Don’t go to your deathbed and realize you lived for a wrong thing. Achievements and good works won't save you, only Jesus will. And if he has, your life will reflect his reign in your heart. Look to him.