Live As If You’re Dying

The other day I was able to connect with a friend who just finished chemo treatments, only to find out her cancer has a high probability of returning. 

“I keep thinking about it, and I have to make myself stop,” she said. “I wonder, should I start videotaping Bible stories to share with my grandchildren? What do I do?” Hers is a tightrope of morbidity vs. practicality.

Her solution: to live – or, more specifically, to live as if she’s dying. And that means living as we all should live all the time.

Yes, her life could be cut short by cancer. Mine could be cut short by a bus or a meteor or a sinkhole beneath my bedroom. What’s more, Jesus could come back tomorrow. (Do you ever wonder what He would catch you doing, by the way?) Cliché aside, each day is a gift. It may not always feel that way – I’m not easily persuaded to that end when I get up before dawn – but it is. And we are called to seize the day and make it count for Christ.

Be very careful, then, how you live – not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil.
– Ephesians 5:15-16

What does making the most of every opportunity look like in an average day? It may mean stopping what you’re doing to take advantage of a teachable moment with your child. (Think Deuteronomy 6:6-7.)

It may mean telling the waitress who serves your lunch that you’re a Christian and would like to know how to pray for her, and then being prepared to hear her share her heartbreak through tears.

It may mean giving that $10 bill in your wallet – you know, that very lonely bill – and giving it to a desperate person that you pass in the course of your day. 

It may mean sending a card to someone who needs encouragement, or – heaven forbid! – actually making a phone call to check on someone when a text just won’t do.

He died for us so that, whether we are awake or asleep, we may live together with Him.
– 1 Thessalonians 5:10

It may mean reaching out to an estranged loved one, issuing an overdue apology, or taking time to hear someone vent.

It may mean stopping to tell your coworker or old college friend about the hope you’ve found in Christ, and being willing to be called a fool for Christ.

It may mean holding your tongue when someone else isn’t.

It may mean loving the unlovable, reaching out to the unreachable, touching the untouchable, doing the unthinkable, all for the sake of being the only Jesus someone may see.

Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity. Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.
– Colossians 4:5-6

People in the world love to say, “You only live once” – or, to put it in its more current form, “YOLO!” That bisyllabic exclamation becomes a ready excuse for living with gusto. But why should the world have the corner on gusto? For Christians, this life is only a shadow of the real life that is to come, so why not have it be the most accurate foretaste possible of that blessed life divine?

How would your life today be different if you knew you were dying? Why not start that life today? Feel free to share your experiences in the comments section below.

And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds . . . Let us encourage one another – and all the more as you see the Day approaching.
– Hebrews 10:24, 25b