Short and Sweet

Short and Sweet

by Charles R. Swindoll

James 4:13–17

Average life spans are shorter than most of us realize. For instance, a face-lift lasts only six to ten years; a dollar bill lasts for only eighteen months; a painted line on the road remains only three to four months; and a tornado seldom lasts more than ten minutes.

There are differences of opinion, but most agree that the human life span averages somewhere between seventy-five and eighty years. That may sound encouraging to the young and disturbing to those in their sixties, seventies, and eighties. The simple fact is, however, nobody knows for sure how long he or she may live.

When we read and believe the warnings in Scripture, there is little doubt that life is short. James pulls no punches when he writes, “You are just a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away” (4:14).

The average life span may be seventy-five to eighty years, but who can say you or I have that long? We may have less than two years or, for that matter, less than two weeks. Vanishing vapors aren’t known for longevity.

Since this is true, let’s do our best to make the time we have count. Rather than live with reluctance, let’s live with exuberance. Instead of fearing what’s ahead, let’s face it head-on with enthusiasm. And because life is so terribly short, let’s do everything we can to make it sweet.

How? Three thoughts come to mind.

First, act on your impulse. Don’t wait for the perfect moment. A woman in my former church took these words to heart and contacted a person she hadn’t talked to for a long time. The person was surprised and thrilled. “You have no idea how much your call has meant to me,” she said. Later the woman who had received the call admitted she had planned to take her life that very afternoon. The call had changed her mind.

Second, focus on the positive. Merchants of negativism may be strong and sound convincing, but their message is debilitating. Life’s too short for that. Spread germs of cheer. Joy is contagious.

Third, traffic in the truth. Refuse to stake your claim on hearsay. Check out the facts. Be discerning. If you are a conduit of communication, speak only the truth. If you’re not absolutely sure, keep quiet. Lies can outlive lives, unfortunately.

Short and sweet. That’s the only way to go.

Have you been putting off something you really want or need to do? You don’t have forever. Get at it!

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