The Brevity of Life


“How frail is humanity! How short is life, how full of trouble! We blossom like a flower and then wither. Like a passing shadow, we quickly disappear.”

~Job 14:1-2, NLT


Your life is a ‘breath’, don’t waste it.


I was in Psalm 144 last night and in verse 4, the Psalmist said, Man is like a breath; His days are like a passing shadow. There is not much if any substance to a breath or a shadow. The Psalmist was looking for protection and there is no protection in a breath or a shadow so he called on Yahweh the ROCK. You can hide behind a rock but not a shadow or a breath. Psalm 144 is talking about man’s vulnerability and our need for help. As I thought about Psalm 144 and the metaphors breath and shadow, I thought of the passages in Job and Psalms that use breath as a metaphor for the brevity of life. James said, “Life is like the vapor {steam} over a kettle, it appears for a little while and then vanishes away.” Hosea the prophet uses other metaphors: like a morning cloud; like dew which soon disappears; like chaff which is soon blown away, or like smoke from a chimney. We humans do not think about wasting time until we become aware of our mortality. I turned 74 Tuesday and I am telling you, it was a quick 74 years and the past 20 years have been a blurr. Twenty years ago, if the Bailey’s were on the road, I drove and there were no questions. Now all my children insist on driving.

All these things put me to thinking. How brief is life for we humans? In America we males average 73.5 and the females 79.3. Why do men die before women? My answer is because they want to! {JK} I know some of you are pet lovers, and we do need a little levity, so I checked out the life spans of other species. First, lets look at the shortest life spans and for that we go to the insect world. The shortest life span is the Mayfly and it is just a few hours. Second is the Gnat which lives only 7 days {PTL}. The Butterfly lives 15 days, the house fly 17 days,  the horse fly lives for a month and so does the Dragon fly. Thank God they don’t have the stamina of a turtle. The worker bee lives 6 weeks, the drone {bless his heart} 2 months. Who cares about insects? Right!  I don’t know of anyone who has a pet fly. Although we get them confused, there are several differences between an alligator and a crocodile. Alligator can live to be 50 and crocs pass away at age 13. What about cats and dogs. A cat can live {no matter what size} up to 30 years but dogs rarely reach 20. Donkey live longer than mules. Sheep live longer than goats. Most cows expire between 20-25 years but a horse can live up to 50 although that is rare. The long livers are Elephants {70}, Eagles {80} and turtles {130}. Just a little trivia to relieve some of your anxiety.

I know this: life is brief and time is precious. When Mary expressed her extravagant love for Jesus is a room filled with men, they scoffed, saying it was a waste and that the money for the perfume could have been used to help the poor, but Jesus rebuked them with these words…“For you always have the poor with you, and whenever you wish you can do good to them; but you do not always have Me.” Redeem the time and treasure your relationships with family and friends. Always value relationships more than riches.


We are getting a light rain; a little music from heaven. I don’t remember an August like this but I am enjoying it. I hate hot weather and I love rain so August has been great for me. Have a good day and thanks for reading the blog.

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