It seems an appropriate day, on Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday to talk about end of life issues and how they effect us.
Last Thursday I attended a funeral for a man who attended our Sunday school class briefly. When I slipped into the memorial service, this verse whispered through me: “It is better to go to a house of mourning than to go to a house of feasting, Because that is the end of every man, And the living takes it to heart” (Eccesiastes 7:2, NASB). I wanted to take to heart the message God would have for me. I wanted it to sink way down deep.
The man lived 59 years. Since I’m nearly 44, that would be 15 years from now.
15 years of my life left.
What if that were the case? If I knew I had a decade and a half, what would I do? How would I live? Who would I embrace? What would I put aside?
Our pastor talked with the family of the man who died, asking for words that described him. The words: Work, Relationship, Encouragement, and Tenacity. Perhaps we can all take those words and think over what we’d like our lives to look like for the next 15 years.
- Will we work hard, understanding the importance of labor and industriousness?
- Will we be willing to take risks when stability seems more alluring?
- Will we truly listen to God’s voice for our work and obey Him even if it means sacrifice?
- Will we be willing to freely give away our work?
- Will we use the strength within us to work on behalf of those who can’t?
- Will we finally forgive that person who hurt us?
- Will we pursue relationship with people who differ from us?
- Will we be willing to find Jesus in distressing disguise, ministering to the least of these?
- Will we place a firm priority (time, money, resources) on our families?
- Will we serve our church? Our community?
- Will we slow down enough to enjoy friends?
- Will we take dates with our spouses? Our kids?
- Will we turn off the TV in lieu of conversation?
- Will we dare to pray wild, faith-filled prayers for those who don’t yet know Jesus?
- Will we speak specific truth and encouragement to those we love?
- If God gives us an insight into someone else, will we share that openly?
- Will we become students of the people in our lives so that when we encourage, it means something?
- Will we seek to lift the friend who is depressed?
- Will we be interrupt-able so we drop everything in order to encourage?
- Will we write emails, texts, physical cards that express our adoration or appreciation?
- Even when we fail, will we start something again?
- Even if we feel no one understands, will we obey God anyway?
- Even if we hurt and don’t want to continue, will we take the next step?
- Even if that relationship seems impossible, will we dare to love?
- Even if that person is far from Jesus, will we still tarry in prayer?
- Even if we have no guarantee of success, will we be faithful?
These questions are for me. And they’re for you. They get at the core of life, of who we are today and who we want to be. We cannot hope to accomplish any of these things in our own paltry strength. We need Jesus. Simple as that. For the next 15 years, we need Jesus.
If you knew you had 15 more years, how would that change the way you live right now?