How Much Time Do You Want?
LIKE it or not, we are all running out of time. According to present standards, a person born in a Western country can expect, on an average, about 26,000 days of life. That’s not many. If each of those days were a U.S. dollar, in most communities they wouldn’t buy a three-bedroom house. By the time you are out of school and ready to begin a career, about 18,000 days are left. When you reach 40, only 11,000 days remain. They cannot be stored in a bank. At death no amount of money can buy them back.
Most people prefer not to think about the shortness of their life, reasoning: “What’s the use? There’s nothing you can do about it anyway.” But there is something you can do about it.
You Can Do Something
Wise use of your time now can give you much more than 26,000 days of life. Indeed, more than 26,000 days of life. Indeed, more than 26,000 years of life can be yours!
Impossible? Why should it be? Scientists admit that the human body is equipped for a lifetime far longer than what we now enjoy. An article in Saturday Review magazine states regarding the brain and related bodily systems: “It is still clear that we are operating with only a tiny fraction of our true abilities. Studying nature, we find that systems are created to be used to the full. What is the purpose of all the unused human capability?” In commenting on the capacity of the human brain, biochemist Isaac Asimov stated that it is “perfectly capable of handling any load of learning and memory which the human being is likely to put upon it—and a billion times more than that quantity, too.”
This is quite in agreement with what the Bible says. Open the Bible and read it for yourself. Again and again it refers to the prospect of living forever here on earth. (Rev. 21:3, 4; Isa. 25:8; John 3:16) Then why do we die?
In the Bible book of Genesis we learn that God made Adam, the first man, from the dust of the ground. Jehovah God planted a garden in Eden, near the headwaters of the Euphrates River, caused to grow in it an abundance of trees that were pleasant to look at and good for food, and in these surroundings he put the man. Adam had a perfect mind and body, and before him was the prospect of living forever. But continued life was conditional. Obedience to God was required. As the Bible says: “Jehovah God also laid this command upon the man: ‘From every tree of the garden you may eat to satisfaction. But as for the tree of the knowledge of good and bad you must not eat from it, for in the day you eat from it you will positively die.’”—Gen. 2:16, 17.
If Adam had been obedient, his children would have been born with the same perfection and prospect for eternal life that he had. But he showed a shameful lack of gratitude to his heavenly Life-Giver. On the day that Adam ate the forbidden fruit, God passed sentence of death on him. He was cut off from the Source of life, Jehovah God, and began to die. Later, after he had fathered children by means of his wife, Eve, he returned to the dust from which he had been taken.
All of us have descended from dying Adam, and just as we have all inherited arms, legs and eyes from Adam, we have also inherited death from him. (Rom. 5:12) The result has been a severe limitation on the time available to each of us at birth, and the consequent pressure to squeeze as much as possible into the few years of life that we have.
Is there anything we can do to improve our situation? Well, we can’t turn back the clock and stop Adam from the action that brought death to us all. Nor is anyone today qualified to undo the damage that he did. But does that mean that the situation is hopeless? By no means!
The Bible states that, by God’s undeserved kindness, he sent his own Son, Jesus Christ, to earth to bring relief that would be possible in no other way. Christ ‘tasted death for every man.’ (Heb. 2:9) As a perfect man, he paid the penalty of death for us. What is required in order to benefit from that provision?
First, that we take time to learn about it. Then, that we exercise faith in it and live in a manner that demonstrates such faith. Listen to how Jesus himself explained the matter: “This means everlasting life, their taking in knowledge of you, the only true God, and of the one whom you sent forth, Jesus Christ.” And: “God loved the world so much that he gave his only-begotten Son, in order that everyone exercising faith in him might not be destroyed but have everlasting life.” He also said that the discreet person is the one “that hears these sayings of mine and does them.”—John 17:3; 3:16; Matt. 7:24.
Would It Be Boring?
“But wouldn’t it be boring to live forever?” some may ask. Why should it be? When was the last time you were bored while doing something you really enjoyed? Boredom is not caused by the length of a person’s life but by a life that lacks quality, one that is lived without purpose. An hour spent in drudgery is far more boring than a full day devoted to something that you enjoy, activity that is filled with meaning for you.
Really, people who fear that they would be unhappy with everlasting life reveal that they are unhappy with their life right now. They shudder at the thought of living that way forever. But it may be that they long for a better, more interesting, more deeply satisfying life.
This is precisely what God promises! Rather than a prolonging of man’s present woes, he foretells a new start for mankind—a new governmental “heavens” and a new “earth,” or human society, along with conditions that will be a new experience for all the offspring of Adam. “There are new heavens and a new earth that we are awaiting according to his promise, and in these righteousness is to dwell.” And concerning the conditions that will prevail here on earth, the Bible says: “‘He will wipe out every tear from their eyes, and death will be no more, neither will mourning nor outcry nor pain be anymore. The former things have passed away.’ And the One seated on the throne [God himself] said: ‘Look! I am making all things new.’ Also, he says: ‘Write, because these words are faithful and true.’”—2 Pet. 3:13; Rev. 21:1-5.
What Will You Do?
You no doubt know that Jehovah’s Witnesses gladly take time to discuss the Bible with interested persons in their homes. There is no charge for this service, and it does not obligate the householder to join anything. World wide, there are over 1,200,000 persons who avail themselves of this service on a regular, weekly basis. Perhaps you have thought about doing so but have felt that you were too busy to take the time.
We hope that this issue of Awake! has given you added insight on why nearly everyone feels as you do—pressed for time. Perhaps it has also helped you to take a fresh look at life and to ask yourself: “Am I using my time for the things that really count in life, or am I allowing these to be crowded out?”
If time is truly precious to you, you owe it to yourself to investigate further what the Bible says about God’s promise of everlasting life. At the same time you will find that study of the Bible equips you with a wealth of practical advice that can help to improve the quality of your life now.
Why not contact Jehovah’s Witnesses in your area, or write to the publishers of this magazine and ask for a qualified person to call on you. The time that it takes to do this is very little, but you may find that you will come to have more time than you ever dreamed of!