Posted by George Morrison

Actuarial statistics tell us that life expectancy is currently increasing at the rate of 5 hours per day! A new born child who would have had 70 years to look forward to is now looking at an 84 year life span. Not only are we living longer but we can increasingly control just how much longer. The Health Magazines are right when they tell us that eating the suggested 5 portions of fruit and vegetables a day will add a further 3 years. For smokers who desist the reward is an additional 6 years. A healthy and happy marriage can earn the couple another 8 years on the planet. There are no statistics for those who embrace Christianity but the way these numbers add up Methuselah’s record may be under attack! In fact the only person recorded in scripture who wanted a longer life was Hezekiah. 2 Kings Chapter 20 tells us that his prayer was answered by the addition of a further 15 years. Sadly he made a mess of the years he was given lending force to the Bible’s inference that it is not the duration spent here that’s important but how we spend the time we have be it long or short. One thing that Hezekiah did that was useful was to have a collection of proverbs compiled and these form Chapters 25 to 29 in the book of Proverbs. They do not mention his last 15 years but they do contain some indication that he may have found them to be a learning experience i.e. “He who conceals his sins does not prosper, but whoever confesses and renounces them finds mercy”. That mercy, rather than justice, awaits every contrite sinner who comes to Jesus, not for additional years down here but for for the ability to spend our time well and with the prospect of eternity in view. St Paul quoting scripture in his 1st letter to the church at Corinth spoke of this future longevity in these terms: “No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him” and that love is the response of a heart that has found mercy at the cross