Many years ago, I read the story of an elderly woman who fulfilled a lifelong dream when she traveled to Italy. Her family had immigrated from there. Since she was already older, it was not a complete surprise when she became ill. She was forced to cut her trip short. While disappointed, she was still grateful for her chance to visit the country of her origin.
However, about two hours into her return flight, one of the jet’s engines malfunctioned and quit. The added strain on the remaining three engines caused another to fail a short time later. The flight attendants did a great job of keeping everyone calm, and eventually the jet landed safely.
After the plane was on the ground, one of the flight attendants complimented the elderly woman, telling her she had been one of their calmest passengers. She smiled and replied, “Well, at my age I figure I’m living on borrowed time and I took this trip with money I borrowed from my children, so frankly, I didn’t think I had a lot to lose.”
Moses makes a similar point in the only psalm he is credited with writing. “Teach us to number our days carefully so that we may develop wisdom in our hearts.” (Psalm 90:12, HCSB) The truth is that all of us are living on borrowed time since we do not know how long we will live.
I have conducted the funerals of many young people over the years. Their unexpected deaths demonstrate that each day is a gift to be treasured. It is easy to assume that our lives on earth will last forever, however, that is not the case; life should not be taken for granted.
I frequently allow myself to be distracted by insignificant things and overlook what really matters. I watch mildly entertaining television programs rather than spending time with my wife and children. I play a game on my phone instead of praying with a friend who is going through a tough time.
In short, I often forget that my days on earth are numbered. I want to make the most of each day, but I frequently lose sight of that fact. No one who is dying ever wishes he had watched more television or played another computer game.
Many regret not having made more time for family and God. A lot of people feel guilt that they did not repair damaged relationships or tell loved ones that they are loved. Make the most of today; it is a gift. Use it wisely, for you never know how many days remain.