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Have you ever found yourself in a place you had previously been decades earlier, and yet it seemed as though only a day had lapsed? That was my experience early this summer. My father had a cottage built on the shores of Georgian Bay, Ontario in 1961. For years, my childhood summertime meant living at the cottage from “school’s out” until “school’s in.” It was two months of sun, sand and swimming.
My family and I traveled 3,600kms plus to vacation at that cottage again.
On the first day back I sat on the beach and watched children play in the sand. Seagulls soared overhead in the breeze. The laughter of swimmers drifted to shore carried by the waves. Sandpipers ran along the waterline as if daring the waves to touch them. In an instant it seemed as though time had stood still and I was a 7-year old at the lake again.
Our church family is following a reading plan that takes us through the Bible in a year. It’s a great practice. Part of the reading for my day at the beach came from Psalm 39. The Psalmist says, “Show me Lord my life’s end and the number of my days; let me know how fleeting my life is. You have made my days a mere handbreadth. Everyone is but a breath.” Those verses resonated with my shoreline experience. The Psalmist was thinking the same thing I was. Life is “fleeting.” Life doesn’t just “pass by” – it flies like a bird on the wing. A day is like a breath. Now there’s a thought for you. How many “breaths” are in the typical 24-hour day? At 15 breaths a minute, a conservative estimate would be about 21,600. Translate each breath into a year and you have approximately 60 years. There’s no better word for the speed of life than “fleeting.”
The Psalmist says, “Show me my life’s end.” Just as every day has a sunset, every life has its own sunset. My father loved sunsets at our cottage. He took hundreds of pictures over the years of sunsets. Each one is a variation of a sliver of bright red, shimmering across the surface of the lake; the blazing sun hovering just above the horizon; the sky a brilliant hue of reds and oranges. Every life can move toward a beautiful end.
Preparing for the end at the beginning is not a morbid thought – it’s a motivating paradigm. “Beginning with the end in mind,” according to Stephen Covey, is a habit of highly effective people. It’s a good way to insure your life is lived purposefully. The Westminster Catechism says, “Man’s chief end is to glorify God, and to enjoy him for ever.”
For Christ followers, dedicating every “breath” they take, and every choice they make, to the Lord has a way of slowing life down. It insures God’s glory is woven into our story and everyday is lived enjoyably and to it’s fullest.

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