When Enoch had lived 65 years, he fathered Methuselah.22 Enoch walked with God[b] after he fathered Methuselah 300 years and had other sons and daughters. 23 Thus all the days of Enoch were 365 years.24 Enoch walked with God, and he was not,[c]for God took him.
25 When Methuselah had lived 187 years, he fathered Lamech.26 Methuselah lived after he fathered Lamech 782 years and had other sons and daughters. 27 Thus all the days of Methuselah were 969 years, and he died. – Genesis 5:21-27
When I was growing up, my great aunt lived a happy and healthy life into her 80’s. Aunt Lill was so very special. Never married, she was among the most frugal women in the Bahn family. Until one day my dad warned her, “Aunt Lill, you’re wasting your money.”
“What?!?” Her alarm was genuine.
“You’re not enjoying it and when you die what will become of it?”
From then on she – still frugally – began enjoying the money she had so carefully saved over her 70+ years. She bought an electronic organ. And a color TV. And she gave me $1000! Amazing! A very welcome gift to a college student with a car and insurance and all.
At that time to live into your 80’s was remarkable. We all did, in fact, remark about that. “Isn’t Aunt Lill something?” She was.
But she had nothing on Methuselah. He lived into his 10th century. That’s old. That’s remarkable. And whether you take that number seriously (as I do) or have it as a symbolic number, there begs a question: How long do you want to live?
Kane Tanaka, the 117-year-old Japanese woman is set to carry the Olympic torch for a portion of the relay. She is currently the oldest person in the world according to Guinness World Records wants to live to set the record for the longest-lived person (in modern history). She will need to live for more than 5 more years to reach the greatest fully authenticated age to which any human has ever lived: 122 years 164 days.
Methuselah isn’t around to object to this. Nor are any of the others listed in Genesis 5. Their long lifespans notwithstanding, they all died. So will Kane some day – though I hope she sets the new modern-day record.
But I ask again, how long do you want to live? My mom was ready to go to be with Jesus years before she died at 93 years of age. And she would often wonder, “Why doesn’t God take me?” There comes a time for each of us to die. Hopefully it will be at a ripe old age and through a blessed and peaceful death.
But until God does call us home, we must lean into life for all it’s worth. Life is a gift from God, and our purpose in all things is to live under Christ in his kingdom and serve him here and now and into eternity. If that means giving gifts, carrying torches, or living in hopeful anticipation and expectation of God’s ultimate deliverance, so be it. Until then, live, for the glory of God is man fully alive (St. Irenaeus of Lyons). But keep this in mind…the fullness of being alive will come only on the Great Last Day at the resurrection – all secured by Jesus’ sacrificial death and victorious resurrection. Click here for more about St. Irenaeus’ thoughts on the resurrection as the culmination of being truly alive.
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