If you were told that you had exactly 365 days left to live here on earth, how would that affect your everyday life? Would you live life as usual or would it make you re-think the way you are spending your precious remaining days?
My friend, Jeff Queenan, recently passed away all too young. He was a great man, but what stands out is the indelible mark he left on those who encountered him. He was first diagnosed with cancer about a year before he died. Although he held on to the hope of conquering the desease, he didn’t assume anything. His life had been lived with purpose. He lived for God with all of his heart, he loved his wife and loved ones with all of his heart and he loved people with all of his heart. The incredible volume of people that Jeff touched and whose lives he made an incredible impact on was just astounding! He would spot someone who needed a connection with God and the church and he would BECOME that connection. Countless people have recalled how he reached out to them with words of encouragement, advice and how he was there for them as a friend in a very uncommon way. He would give his energy to pray relentlessly with people until they reached the point of a breakthrough. He lead an example of being a true Christian, always ready to serve.
Up to this point, one of Jeff’s deepest unrealized desires was to see his adult son, Joel, saved and living for God. He never gave up on his son. When Jeff first had symptoms of health issues he didn’t know exactly what was wrong, but he knew it could be serious. When Joel was informed, he came to see his father in the hospital. Jeff, as always, spoke very lovingly, but very straight to his son who was not living for God. When Joel got back home he visited a nearby church and gave his life back to God. In the last year of Jeff’s life, he was not only able to see his son re-establish his relationship with God, he even got to see him become the youth pastor of his church and witness his legacy being passed down to his new grandchild. Jeff has left a legacy that will reverberate to people that he has never even met and into a time he has never even lived in.
I’m sure there were things that Jeff wished he could have accomplished before he had to leave this earth, but what made Jeff’s life a success was that he didn’t wait until his last days to do the things that were most important. Instead, he chose to make the important things a priority even when he thought he had much longer to live. There is no telling what kind of impact you can have with your life if you live as though your time is not guaranteed.
The more we think of our fragile timeline the more the important things become important to us.
When people are told that they only have a short time to live, the most common reaction is not “how much more money can I make while I’m here?”, or “how many more toys can I get while I’m here?” or even “how much fun can I have in my final days?”. No, that’s not what people tend to think unless their lives are extremely shallow.
For most people who know they are living in their final days, the most important things come down to this:
- My Relationship with God
Living to please Him—This is the ultimate purpose of our lives. This should always be number 1. Everything that follows should be based on what God wants of our lives. My relationship with God is the determining factor that will decide what happens to me after my time on earth has ended.
- My Relationship with loved ones
Fulfilling my personal roles—There are roles you are called to fill that no one else can fill like you can. If you’re married, you’re called to be the best husband or wife your spouse could ever have. No one else can be that, because you’re the one who is married to him or her. If you have children, you’re called to the best dad or mom your children could ever have. No one else can truely take your place. If your parents, grandparents, siblings or other loved ones are still alive, there is a role that only you can fill in those relationships. So filfill them.
- The fruit of my life
Giving something that will last past my lifetime—This is more than just a legacy. Your fruit should be based on God’s call for your life. If you created a multi-million dollar company, saved 17 whales, or even changed legislation, yet it was not what God called you to do, then what did it gain? When you are gone, you won’t care that people are still talking about what you did or that a structure or organization is named after you. What really matters is that you have accomplished God’s will with your life.
So why would we want to wait until our last few days to undertake what is so absolutely paramount in our lives?
If these things are really that important, shouldn’t they be a part of our everyday lives? Even when we feel we have lots of time left, these assignments from God should be what we live for to have a truly fulfilled and successful life.
Unlike Jeff, who, in a sense, was actually blessed to be given a projection of time to wrap up his life, many of us won’t be given that luxury. The very next breath you breath is not even promised to you. So, the first thing to do is recognize what the most important things are for your life and make sure your everyday life shows how important they truly are.
Finish strong by asking yourself these questions:
1. Am I really living my daily life to please God?
2. Am I being what I’m supposed to be for my loved ones?
3. Am I positively contributing to something that has eternal implications?
I hope this makes you wake up tomorrow with a new determination to treat every day as precious as it is and make every day that I have left count.