Our lives are really but a breath.
I was talking to a friend recently whose wife’s father passed away at age 44 due to a heart attack. That’s kind of scary, because I’m very near that age myself. Tomorrow is truly not promised to us.
Jesus could come back. Or we might simply get hit by a car. (I nearly got run over by a bike rider today. Obviously he has no concept of what a red light means).
Whatever Paul meant by “the time is short,” in this passage, we would do well to remember that we won’t be here on this earth forever. And it should affect the way we live.
From now on those who have wives should live as if they had none (29).
Kind of strange words. Obviously, from looking at the rest of the passage, he’s not saying we should divorce our wives (or husbands) or ignore them so that we can do ministry.
But what I do think he’s saying is that our lives should not be centered around our spouses. Rather, our lives as a couple should be centered around God, and doing the things he has called us to do for his kingdom.
Nor as a single should you center your life around finding a husband or wife. Rather, seek God’s kingdom first, and if God is willing (and most times he is), he will provide a partner for you as well.
Paul then says,
Those who mourn, [should live] as if they did not. (30a)
All of us go through hardships in life. We see tragedy and death all around us. And when these things happen to us, it’s healthy for us to mourn. We need to mourn. But we cannot live the rest of our lives in mourning. We need to get back up on our feet and return to the work God has for us. As long as we remain in mourning, we chain ourselves to the past, and cannot find the future God has for us.
Paul goes on, saying,
Those who are happy, [should live] as if they were not. (30b)
Again, kind of a strange saying. But sometimes we get so wrapped up in our own happiness, we get complacent, and we stop moving forward. As much as our grief can chain us to our past, so can our happiness if we are merely resting on our laurels. We need to move on. For while we may be happy, there are many around us who are not, and who desperately need the One who gives us our joy.
Those who buy something, [should live] as if it were not theirs to keep; those who use the things of the world, as if not engrossed in them. For this world in its present form is passing away. (30c)
In other words, remember that the things of this world are temporary. We can’t take our money or possessions with us when we go to heaven. We can only take two things: our relationship with God and our relationships with our fellow believers. So let’s live that way, not focusing on things, but on God and others.
Your time on this earth is short. How are you using it?