Today’s devotional thought comes from the following text. It is written specifically of Babylon and her princes, but it applies to each and every one of us:
Sheol — the grave — beneath is stirred up to meet you when you come. It rouses the shades to greet you, all who were leaders of the earth. It raises from their thrones all who were kings of the nations. All of them will answer and say to you, “You too have become as weak as we! You have become like us!” Your pomp is brought down to Sheol … maggots are laid as bed beneath you, and worms are your covers. (Isaiah 14:9-11)
The sleep business must be very lucrative, for mattress stores are found here, there, and everywhere. From retail establishments, to department stores, to outlet malls, to thrift shops, and now on the internet, consumers are spending thousands of dollars on the mattress of choice. Some are built in the more traditional manner, and they come with springs and cushions. Some are made with space-age body-cooling foam and can be folded and delivered in a box. Then there are those that come with technological advancements. Sleep Number® is one brand that comes to mind. It positions itself as the only smart bed that lets you choose your ideal firmness, comfort, and support on each side. All one has to do is answer the question, “What’s your sleep number?”
Friends, today was the first day I asked myself the question, “What’s my sleep number?” However, in asking myself this question, I was not thinking of sleeping on my bed. This morning, I was thinking of sleeping in the ground. According to the latest numbers, the average life-span of a male in the United States is now 78.7 years. [It is 81 for women.] I am now 49.6 years of age, and that make my sleep number 29.1. Now, I am very aware that I might live longer than 78.7; I do seem to have some good genes in my family tree. I am also aware I might not make it to that age. I would greatly help my situation if I would quit eating at Skin’s Hot Dogs, the Beacon, and my new favorite burger spot in Greenville — The Brass Monkey. Yes, it is the Lord who determines man’s length of days, and who knows the plans he has for me. However, if I am the “average Joe” living the “average life,” then my sleep number is 29.1, and this is the length of time I have left to serve my Lord, my family, my church, and my neighbors. Then comes the eternal state — either the hellish one I earned and deserved, or the glorious one gifted me because of the cross-work of Jesus Christ and the converting work of the Holy Spirit.
Well friends, what’s your sleep number? Go ahead; do the math. For some, this might seem somewhat morbid and depressing. For others, this might be motivating and liberating. However, there is a time appointed for all to die, and your time is on the horizon. You might as well consider the time left and be reminded:
- Death comes to all — great and small
- Death comes unexpectantly to many
- Death comes with everlasting glory or everlasting ghastliness
- Death is loathed by some; this world is the only heaven they will ever know
- Death is loved by some; this world is the only hell they will ever know
- Death is motivating to the worshiper; for me to live is Christ
The writer of Ecclesiastes reminds us of the brevity of life; it is like a shadow or a vapor. The writer of Psalm 91 states, “Teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom.” The Lord encourages us to set our minds on eternal things, and the great Apostle tells us to run to win while keeping our eye on the trophy and crown.
I suppose this might be a good time for me to pull out my favorite quote written by a former Anglican minister, “Spend your fat and sweetness for God and man; wear out, not rust out; flame out, not smoke out; burn out, be not blown out.” (John Preston) Friends, I have 29.1 years left – give or take — there is no time to waste.
What’s your sleep number?