Friday, 23 October 2020
Title: God’s Eternity, Man’s Transience
By: Ps Cheng Cheung

Psalm 90:12
So teach us to number our days,
That we may gain a heart of wisdom.

As more than 1.1 million Covid-19 deaths worldwide pass into eternity, and 1.1 million-plus families feel the sting of loved ones lost, Moses’s uncomfortable prayer presses itself upon us: “Teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom.”

Teach us, O God, to see in these 1.1 million deaths and more, a foreshadow of our own. Teach us to feel that our lives, however long, are “like a dream, like grass that… fades and withers” Psalm 90:5 & 6. And do it so that we may get a heart of wisdom. So that we may give ourselves, while the vapour of life still lingers, to the only work that will enter eternity.

On the other side of the coronavirus, the wisest people will not be those who have diversified their financial portfolios, nor those who have stocked up on masks and sanitiser in preparation for potential future waves, but those who have learned to say from their hearts, “Only one life, ’twill soon be past; only what’s done for Christ will last.”

Ecclesiastes 3:11 says we have eternity in our hearts, and so we are slow to learn the lesson that life is a vapour. Life in the moment feels sturdy and secure, and we often act as if it might go on forever. So we rarely see the reality that life is fragile and brief. Calamities bring death close. The previous months and days have sharpened the words of Psalm 90 into unpleasant focus:
Psalm 90:3, 5 & 9
“You return man to dust and say, ‘Return, O children of man!’…
You sweep them away as with a flood…
For all our days pass away under your wrath;
We bring our years to an end like a sigh”

No wonder Moses ends his reflections on death with a desperate prayer: “Let the favour of the Lord our God be upon us, and establish the work of our hands; yes, establish the work of our hands!” Psalm 90:17. Only God can take this dying seed called life and make it bear fruit that lasts for eternity.

Now, in Jesus Christ, our lives and our labour are not swept away, but established: “Be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that ‘in the Lord’ your labour is not in vain” – 1 Corinthians 15:58. Let us be clear that outside of the Lord, our most impressive labours are grand nothings. Careers, bank accounts, reputations and legacies, if built in our name rather than in Christ’s, must vanish in time. But in the Lord, no labour is in vain.

What will it mean for us to labour in the Lord? We need to ask this question again and again throughout our lives, not only in the midst of a pandemic. But moments like this one throw into sharp relief the choices in front of us. Our days are numbered, eternity is coming, and the only labour that matters is labour in the Lord. What then shall we do?

Perhaps it took the coronavirus to expose just how many trivialities take up our time, and to make us feel the urgency of some good work we have long put off doing.

The radical need not wait until life returns to “normal.” What we call “normal life,” remember, is really life on the edge of a precipice, not nearly so different from life now as many of us imagine. Some Christians have given their days to delivering free food to communities on the brink. Others have fostered or “adopted” outstation or overseas students in need of a home-cooked meal and being cared for away from home, or simply played the role of cab driver to church for these students when the lockdown was not on. Life is too short, and eternity too long, not to throw ourselves into something that is out of our comfort zones. It may feel too big, perhaps a bit too risky, but it is always packed with potential to glorify Christ.

Numbering our days begins with numbering this day: this unrepeatable, God-given 24 hours, filled with opportunities to labour in the Lord. We have not yet gained a heart of wisdom until eternity presses itself down into the present, teaching us to live today in light of forever. It matters little what kind of work we have ahead of us today – radical or ordinary, pleasant or bitter. What matters is whether we do it in the Lord.

Some material taken from an article by Scott Hubbard, Desiring God.

Prayer for Today

Lord, life is going by so fast and life is too short to waste on things that do not last for eternity. So teach me to consider my mortality, so that I might live wisely.

I seek You, Lord, to direct my path that I may know Your perfect will, moment by moment, for me. Reveal this to me, I pray, that I might submit and not labour my remaining days on this earth in vain. In Jesus’ Name, I pray. Amen.


诗篇 90:12



在冠状病毒的另一边,最有智慧的人不会是那些已经分散其金融投资组合的人,也不是那些为未来潜在的浪潮做准备而囤积口罩和消毒水的人,而是那些学会从心里说,”只有一个生命,不久就会过去;只有为基督所做的才能持续” 的人。

传道书说道我们有永生在心里,因此,我们很慢地吸取生命是一片云雾的教训。 当下的生活感觉坚固和安全,我们经常表现得好像它可能永远持续下去。 所以我们很少看到生活是脆弱和短暂的现实。 灾难带来死亡。 在过去的几个月和几天里,诗篇90的话语更加令人关注:

诗篇 90:3、5 、9

难怪摩西以恳切的祈祷结束了对死亡的反思: “愿耶和华我们上帝的恩宠降在我们身上,建立我们的手; 是的,建立我们的双手!(诗篇90:17 )“ 只有上帝才能拿下这个被称为生命的垂死种子,使它结出永恒的果实。

现在,在耶稣基督里,我们的生命和劳苦没有一扫而空,而是被建立起来:” 所以,我亲爱的弟兄们,你们务要坚固,不可摇动,常常竭力多做主工,因为知道,你们的劳苦在主里面不是徒然的“(哥林多前书15:58)。我们必须清楚地知道,那些最令我们引以为傲的劳苦,若不是在主里,终将是华丽的虚空。如果我们的职业生涯、银行账户、声誉和遗产是以我们的名义建立,而不是以基督的,它们会按时消失。 但在主里,没有劳苦是徒然的。

对我们来说,在主里劳苦意味着什么? 我们需要在我们的一生中一次又一次地问这个问题,而不仅仅是在疫情中。 但是如此时刻让我们眼前的选择变得清晰。 我们的日子屈指可数,永恒即将到来,唯一重要的劳苦是在主里的劳苦。 那我们该怎么办?


激进主义者不必等到生活恢复“正常”。 记住,我们所说的“正常生活”实际上是处于悬崖边缘的生活,与我们许多人想象的现生活没有太大不同。 一些基督徒花时间来为濒临危机的社区提供免费食品。 其他人则是代养或“收养”那些需要家常饭菜并被照顾的外地或海外学生,又或者在没封锁时为那些到教堂的学生当司机。 生命过短,而永恒过长,我们不得不深入地做安乐窝以外的事物。 这可能感觉太大,也许有点冒险,但是它总是充满着荣耀基督的潜力。



主啊,我求你指引我的道路,使我能随时知道你对我的完美旨意。 我祈求你向我启示,以便我能屈服,而不是在世上余下的日子徒然劳苦。 我奉耶稣的名祷告。 阿们。