"But this I say, brethren, the time is shortened, that henceforth both those that have wives may be as though they had none; and those that weep, as though they wept not; and those that rejoice, as though they rejoiced not; and those that buy as though they possessed not; and those that use the world, as not using it to the full: for the fashion of this world passeth away" (1 Cor. 7:29-31).
How easy it is to so over-indulge in and over-emphasize the relationships, emotions and activities of life that our perspective is lost. Thus it is that Paul sent a warning to Corinth that we need as well. We need to remember that there is more to life than…
Marriage. "Seriously, but not too seriously" should be our attitude toward marriage. Why? Our duties to our mate end at death, never to be resumed (Mt. 22:29-30). But, our duties to God never end. While living I am accountable to Him, and after death I must answer to Him (2 Cor. 5:10). For these reasons, the desires of a mate should never take precedence over duty to the Lord. The unbelieving or weak mate will be won by Godly behavior (1 Pet. 3:1-6). "Love" that is willing to compromise is doomed to failure (Lk. 14:26).
Sorrow. Our Savior wept (Jo. 11:35) and David knew the agony of grief (2 Sam. 12:15- 23). But David expressed his despair while there was hope for his child's life (vss. 16-17). When hope was gone and the child was dead, David's conduct changed (vs. 20) for he knew there was no useful purpose to be served by continuing to fast and weep (vss. 22-23).
Joy. We need doses (and sometimes large ones) of good fun and for the same reasons we need medicine (Prov. 12:22). But Solomon's conclusion was that there is more to life than having a good time (Ecc. 2:1-11). Wise use of time (Eph. 5:15-16) involves a balance between enjoying life (Ecc. 8:15) and rejoicing as did Paul (Phil. 1:3,18; 2:1,17; 3:1; 4:1,4,10). Give the emphasis to the latter, for God will "ask" us about it (Ecc. 11:9-10).
Buying. We should've learned from the rich fool (Lk. 12:13-21) but we haven't. We rush to make more, buy more, and have more, forgetting that our lives aren't made up of what we possess (vs. 15). Sadly, some do not learn this until death (vs. 20). Wives and husbands, parents and children are virtual strangers who have never gotten to know one another because of unnecessary time spent in chasing a dollar.
Using the world. Travel and recreation — opportunities for such are abundant. But how sad it is that many local churches are deprived of leaders and teachers because many are "on the road again" and too busy to help. Use the world? Paul said, "yes." But to use it to the full is to abuse the privilege.
Brethren, "the time is shortened ...the fashion of this world passeth away." For these reasons and for the sake of our souls remember that there is more to life than what we often make it.
David Smitherman, Plain Talk, Vol. 20, No. 6, August 1983