Life is one of the things that most of us take for granted. We wake up, we go about our day, we work, we laugh, we play... but rarely do we stop and consider that our life - when compared to eternity - is SHORT. In fact, the Bible compares our life to be like a breath, a passing shadow (Ps. 144.4). In other words, in comparison to eternity, our lives are like the snap of a finger... they're just that short.
So, it would seem to go without saying that we should be careful as to how we live our lives. I mean, if life is really short, then there's not a whole lot of time to waste, right? Yet, many of us live as though we've got forever to get this thing right, when the truth is - we don't know what tomorrow holds for us (Jam. 4.14). That's why the Psalmist in the verse above asks God for the proper understanding and perspective of life, so that he may be able to live his life with wisdom.
Wayne Cordeiro writes in one of his books about a college student who was nearing the end of his final semester, and he had a research paper to finish before he could graduate. After some sleepness nights and many trips to the library, he finally finished and turned in the paper. A few days later, the professor handed the class their papers back, and when the student received his he found this on the back:
"Good research. Great illustrations. Thorough bibligraphy. Final grade: F... WRONG ASSIGNMENT!!"
That's a humorous story (unless you're that student), but there is a very powerful truth there for all of us: we can live our entire lives working hard at some things, only to hear God say to us in the end,
"Good job. Nice house. Great salary. Awesome retirement package. Final grade: F... WRONG ASSIGNMENT!!"
We only get one ife... what are we doing with it?