For most of my adult life, I’ve been keenly aware of the reality of death. I know how short and precious life can be. As a pastor, I’ve done many funerals. I’ve had too many friends and family die young.
I also know that we’re all dying. Even our next breath is on loan from God. Whether we live another day or a hundred more years, life on this planet is just a blip on the radar screen of eternity. I know all this. I get it.
But for most of my life, especially in my twenties and thirties, I’ve lived as if I’m going to remain in this body forever. My two favorite food groups were pizza and ice cream. Not good.
As I look back over my life, I realize how much time I’ve probably wasted on things that really don’t matter in the grand scheme of things.
I’ve worried too much.
I’ve watched too much television. (There’s a reason some call it the idiot box.)
I’ve worked too much.
Don’t get me wrong. We all need to relax, and we all need some entertainment in our lives. And, of course, we all need to be diligent and work hard at whatever we do. But I’ve never heard anyone on their deathbed say, “Wow! I wish I’d played a lot more video games in my life!”
“Too bad I didn’t work more overtime when I had the chance!” “I sure should have spent more time worrying about things I had no control over; then I’m sure my life would have been much better.”
What I’ve heard is a lot more along the lines of regret. “If only . . .”
There are truths we know in our minds, and then there are truths that get deeply marinated into our souls. We know these truths much better because we know them in our hearts.
Here is a truth that is going much deeper in me: Life is a gift; we all have a God-given purpose, so make every day count for something bigger than yourself.
Live to leave a legacy.
Again, there’s nothing wrong with playing hard or working hard. There’s even nothing wrong with doing nothing from time to time. But at the end of the day, and more important, at the end of your life, ask yourself these questions:
Did you leave your handprint on the world today?
Did you make a difference in the lives of those around you?
Did you live deliberately and on purpose?
Did you aspire to reach some God-given goals that changed you and others around you?
My prayer of late is like this:
Father, I pray that I will wake before I die. Wake me from any lethargy.
Wake me from any monotony.
Wake me from a life of mediocrity.
Wake me from the lie that there’s nothing I can significantly contribute to this life or the lives of others.
Wake me up to what really matters.
Life really is a gift; what we do with it is up to us.
One of my favorite lines from one of my most favorite movies, Braveheart, goes like this: “Every man dies; not every man really lives.” How incredibly true.
The single greatest certainty in life is that death comes to us all. One of the greatest uncertainties is whether we will fully live the way we were meant to live.
You are God’s work of art, and he has something profound planned for you.
Go for it.
And whatever happens, live to make every moment count for something bigger and greater than yourself.
"Never doubt God’s mighty power
to work in you and accomplish all this.
He will achieve infinitely more
than your greatest request,
your most unbelievable dream,
and exceed your wildest imagination!"
Ephesians 3:20 (TPT)