Life Is But A Vapor


These past few days have definitely reminded me that life is but a vapor. Over these past few days, my wife Janet and I have had the wonderful experience of traveling to Lakeland Florida to meet my new Grandson Josiah Christopher Lile. Josiah, who is the firstborn son of my son Adam and his wife Kelly, is a blessing from God. While we visited with Adam, Kelly, and Josiah, my mind flew back in time to the days that Adam was Josiah’s age, and it seemed as if those days were just a few days ago! Where did the time go? The entire experience of meeting my Grandson in some ways seemed surreal. Seeing an infant that is the son of my son, made me feel like the years have vanished into thin air, and gave me a renewed sense of my own mortality. I can completely relate to the Bible scripture that says life is but a vapor. It seems like the older I get, the faster the years fly by. I can barely fathom the fact that it has been thirty-three years since I graduated high school. It seems as if it was only just a few years ago that my two sons Adam and Paul,  who will turn twenty-six and twenty-seven this fall, were born. Life continues to march on at a seemingly ever increasing rate of speed.

Adam and Mark

My son Adam Christopher Lile with his son Josiah Christopher Lile and me.

I suppose that in the scope of eternity, the years of our lives here on this earth are nothing more than a quick blip on the radar of time. When I think about how swiftly the years have flown by, the words of James, the brother of Christ, come back to mind over and over again. Take a look in the Bible at what James tells us in the 4th chapter of the Book of James. In this chapter of James, James tells us, ” Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a city, and spend a year there and engage in business and make a profit.” 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 4:13-14 New american Standard Version) The synopsis of what James is trying to tell us is that we get so busy making plans for our future, that we often fail to remember that we are never guaranteed a tomorrow. Just like a vapor, we can be here today, and gone tomorrow. I can think of numerous friends from my past whose lives came to an end at a surprisingly young age. Everyday that we have is a gift from God. It would behoove all of us to take to heart what James is saying, and realize the importance of making every day count. Our time in this life is indeed limited. How much difference are you making in the world around you with the time that you have been given?

As I reflect on the comparison that James made to our years of life as a vapor, my mind wanders back to the days of my childhood growing up. I remember some of the times as a child when I had come down with a cold or the flu, and I remember the old warm mist vaporizer that my Mother would prepare and place in my room by my bed. The warm moist air that came from the vaporizer always seemed to ease whatever congestion that I may have had, and seemed to make my throat feel better. The steam from the vaporizer worked to change the environment around me. The steam transformed the dry air that surrounded me to moist air that was more conducive to my healing. The interesting thing about the steam that is released from a vaporizer is that it is only visible for a few brief moments, and then it seems to vanish into thin air. Even after the steam disappears into the atmosphere, the effects of the steam are still working to make the atmosphere better.

With all of this in mind, I can so very easily apply the analogy of life being as a vapor to our lives today. All of us are only given a limited amount of time here on this earth. The years seem to vanish away just like the steam coming out of the vaporizer. I want you for a moment to think of the vaporizer and the steam as representing your life. I once read something about vaporizers that said one of the most important things to remember about using a vaporizer is that it must be kept clean. If a vaporizer is not kept clean, bacteria will accumulate in the vaporizer and be vaporized into the air. If this were to happen, the environment around the vaporizer would actually become contaminated, and be made worse instead of better. The same principle apples to our lives. If we are going to make a positive difference in the world around us, and be able to provide an environment that is conducive to healing the hurting people we come into contact with, we have to remain clean in our thoughts, actions, and motives. We have to remain clean before God through his divine grace and forgiveness so that the vapor of our lives changes the environment around us for the better rather than contaminating our environment. If we allow bitterness, strife, envy, hatred, and an unforgiving spirit to dwell in us, the vapor our life is going to release into the world around us will do more harm than good. Please know that this is something that I have to remind myself of. I am very much a work in progress. Just as in the case with the vaporizer, the effects of the vapors of our life will have an impact on the world around us long after we are gone and our lives are over. Whatever encouragement, love, inspiration, and help we can offer to the world around us will continue to have an effect on the generations that follow us long after we leave this life.

The questions I would like to leave you with are simple. What are you doing during the fleeting years of your life in a effort to make the world around you a better place? Are the vapors of your life creating an environment that is conducive to healing, or are the vapors of your life spreading toxins into the world around you? We have a choice as to what legacy our life leaves to our children, grandchildren, family, and friends. Our time in life is short. Don’t waste the precious days of your life. I decided long ago that I want to do my best to make a difference in the lives of those around me. Don’t put off till tomorrow an opportunity you could have to be of encouragement to someone and to show the love of Christ to the world around you. Let the vapors of your life be healing. Life is but a vapor. I encourage you to always strive to make every day count. Tomorrow is never guaranteed.

Thanks for reading!

Until next time,



2 thoughts on “Life Is But A Vapor”

  1. So true. I love your inspiring post. I found your article in a search for life is a vapor as I was doing research to write a blog post about this same topic. I feel the same way you do.

  2. I was preparing to share Isaiah 40:8 with the people at the Nursing Home. Your post is very helpful. We must cherish each day praising God for his goodness and Mercy. It is an honor and privilege to serve God. His words will not return void. I lead a nursing home ministry team from my church twice a month. It’s very rewarding. Some of the people always bless us with their testimonies of God’s faithfulness.

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