The message printed on the tuna can says, “Best by 11-14-16.” That means the tuna will be good for a while—nothing to worry about. But wait, according to this label, on November 14, 2016, I have reason to be concerned. At the stroke of midnight, the can will cease to contain the “best” and will offer something less.
When I was in the fifth grade, I read that the life expectancy for women was seventy, for men, sixty-eight. As one who viewed a high school senior as a grown-up giant, old age seemed as distant as the stars. My expiration date was sixty years away. No need to be concerned.
Several decades have passed since then. Last week, a store clerk asked if was a senior, eligible for a discount. Couldn’t she see the wrinkles, the droopy eyelids, and the gray in my beard? Maybe it was my youthful smile. Perhaps she was being courteous. Or maybe she didn’t know my expiration date, the one I learned in the fifth grade: November 27, 2013.
Of course that date probably isn’t the day I’ll get to step into Heaven, but I’m no longer a fifth-grader, thinking I have plenty of time to play.
Now, as we think about our expiration dates, shouldn’t we recognize the need to enjoy whatever God provides each day and to always be busy doing what pleases him?