Pondering such thoughts might seem morbid to some, but that accusation is far from true. The truth is, we are talking about living in light of eternity, which is a major spiritual advantage:
Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth (Col. 3:2, NASB).This will help us set our here-and-now earthly priorities far below where the majority around us is placing them. The truth is we are going to exist forever in God's paradise kingdom or eternal fire with the majority missing God's kingdom. Everything we own is only temporary, even though it might loooong out-last us.
If we live to be twenty years or more, chances are we have already known someone personally who has died. Our own death is approaching. The clock continues to tick away and the grave keeps getting closer. Our bodies are dying. The vast majority of things and pursuits that seem important now will mean nothing 100 years or less from today! Once we take our last breath and our spirit departs our body (James 2:26), we are leaving everything behind—the good as well as the bad. Ponder these passages about this life:
Yet you do not know what your life will be like tomorrow. You are just a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away (James 4:14, NASB).
For, “All men are like grass, and all their glory is like the flowers of the field; the grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of the Lord stands forever.” And this is the word that was preached to you. Therefore, rid yourselves of all malice and all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and slander of every kind (1 Pet. 1:24-2:1).
The length of our days is seventy years—or eighty, if we have the strength; yet their span is but trouble and sorrow, for they quickly pass, and we fly away (Psa. 90:10).
Man born of woman is of few days and full of trouble (Job 14:1).
Do not be overawed when a man grows rich, when the splendor of his house increases; for he will take nothing with him when he dies, his splendor will not descend with him. Though while he lived he counted himself blessed—and men praise you when you prosper—he will join the generation of his fathers, who will never see the light of life. A man who has riches without understanding is like the beasts that perish (Psa 49:16-20).
Show me, O LORD, my life's end and the number of my days; let me know how fleeting is my life. You have made my days a mere handbreadth; the span of my years is as nothing before you. Each man's life is but a breath. Selah. Man is a mere phantom as he goes to and fro: He bustles about, but only in vain; he heaps up wealth, not knowing who will get it. (Psa 39:4-6)
Your degrees, trophies, awards, exalted job position, hobbies, etc., which you have spent much money to get and years to achieve, are all so temporary in view of eternity that they are like a microscopic particle on the surface of planet Earth. A drastic important change is needed—to find out what God wants and do it. This means, if you are unsaved you need Biblical salvation. If this is you, you will have to repent (turn from your sins) and place all 100% of your trust in Jesus for your salvation. Turn from all of your idols to serve the true and living God (1 Thess. 1:9).
If you are saved, it means that God wants good fruit. That means, at least in part, God wants you to work in his vineyard and obey in a general way. Your time, money, spiritual gifts, etc. have been given to you for the building of God's kingdom. You are to get serious about laboring for God and living holy or you will not enter God's kingdom. Don't be deceived—it's like we're all waiting to die. Now is the time of our testing. Now is the time of our spiritual battles. Now is the time to live unashamedly and faithfully for the Lord Jesus or face a long eternity of painful regret and misery.
One final relevant question—what are you living for? Some people live to play golf, to deer hunt, to party, to make money, to watch TV, to eat good tasting food, etc. but only a few are living for God. It will be the majority that will be in great pain and regret in eternity because of what is happening now in their lives. For your own sake and the sake of others that you are influencing, live for God now while you still have breath in your body. There is a heaven to gain and a hell to shun by doing so. Remember, we are all waiting to die and this is inevitable.