Do you live like you’re going to die one day?
In case you didn’t know, you’re going to die one day. So am I. We all are. But how often do we realise that? Our culture often encourages us to ignore that very simple fact.
Before I go any further, let me just make one thing clear. I’m not setting out here to be sadistic, negative or fatalistic. Not at all.
But it is a reality for all of us.
Whether it’s next week or in 50 years we will all die one day.
People always say good things about people who have just died, but the hard truth not all of us live memorable lives.
When you die, do you want people to think you lived a life worth living, a life full of experiences, a completely fulfilled life, a life full of purpose, a life which changed others lives, a life which was full of memorable moments – a momentus life?
What stories would they tell if you died today?
We need to think about death more – and not in the morbid, depressing, negative kind of way, but in a healthy, constructive kind of way.
I think that intellectually we all know we’re going to die, but at the same time we seem content to live in ignorance of that, trying to avoid it, rather than accepting it, embracing it and then reshaping our lives with that knowledge, and making our lives really count for something.
Of course, depending on our age most of us are not going to die anytime soon. Fair enough. But the reality is none of us knows when we’re going to die. Only God knows that. I heard a true story about a Christian who shared the gospel during a talk at a funeral, and testified to the greatness of Jesus and said that you needed to know Him because you never know when He’s going to take you.
As he went to sit down after giving this talk, he collapsed and died.
When I first heard that story it made me think. It totally stopped me in my tracks.
Because when we encounter death, then suddenly we are reminded of the reality of our mortality.
Death is something we like to ignore, and its totally understandable – one of my biggest fears has been dying young. I want to live a long time, and have a family and grow old with someone, serving God and building His kingdom.
I don’t want to die young. I don’t think many people do.
No one likes thinking about death, and having lost my mother, I least of all like talking about death in the way its often spoken about.
But the problem is that ignorance becomes habit, and we can almost start living like we’re invincible, and that we’re never going to die.
That’s what culture tells us. That we’re invincible, that nothing can hurt us and we should live the consumer dream and that is what is best for us, and what we need to settle for. Get a house, family, as much money as possible and enjoy your life.
But that can lead us to live mundane and ordinary lives, lives of no meaning or purpose, because we merely accept things as they are now and are in total avoidance of what will eventually happen to us – all of us.
Ultimately, how we view – or don’t view – death, will impact how we live our lives. It will shape the kind of life we live.
If we embrace the reality of our own mortality, then our lives can be much more effective, they can be momentus lives. If we are honest about the fact that our time here is finite, then our lives can be much more memorable, and ultimately more fulfilling.
Why? Well, I find it fascinating how often its when people get news that they have a terminal illness, or have a near-death experience, that they suddenly change their mentality, and begin to think about making the most of every moment.
They think about what legacy they are leaving.
You tend to hear phrases like ‘making the most of every moment’ and ‘don’t waste a minute’.
Why? Because they’ve encountered death. They’ve stared it in the face.
They have realised the reality of their own mortality – and if we’re Christians, we become aware of how much we are dependent on God. How much life is a gift from Him that shouldn’t be wasted.
The reason people react like that when those things happen is because suddenly they realise their time is limited, so they realise something they should have been aware of all along – that have to make the most of every moment.
Not waste any opportunity.
Live a life worth living.
Leave a legacy.
These are phrases we hear when someone has encountered death, and survived – whether its in their own life or in their family.
But what would it be like to have that mentality every single day?
I think it would end up with a much more momentus life, a life with much more meaning and purpose,
a life worth talking about,
life in all its fullness
life fully dependent on God, accepting our mortality, and accepting we are dependent on Him, and treasuring that amazing gift of life we have.
Now I’m not talking being reckless and irresponsible. I’m not talking about making rash decisions and not taking our responsibilties seriously. I’m not saying we should be impulsive and do everything we get a chance to do just because we can.
It’s much more focussed than that.
What I am talking about is making the most of every day, every conversation, every opportunity – to serve, to develop ourselves, to experience God’s creation. I’m talking about being creative in how we live, living without a box, being participants with God in His restoration and reconciliation of all things, instead of just observers.
Taking care of our bodies is actually part of this too – because the more we take care of ourselves the more we are valuing this gift God has given us, our lives, our bodies, our talents.
We do this not just physically, but also in relation to developing and cultivating our gifts, our talents, our passions, and developing them responsibily, working hand in hand with God and in obedience to Him.
We do it in community, as part of a body of believers who nurture and support and encourage us.
We need people around us who are not only going to encourage and believe in us, but who are going to be honest with us, and give us constructive criticism or rebuking when we need it – that’s what the Bible calls spurring each other on.
I don’t think I’ve fully appreciated this until recently.
I’ve gone on for a long time being dissolusioned with consumerism and secularism, and thinking there must be a better rhythm to life, a better way of organising our lives, and exploring how we can reorder our lives around God’s rhythm rather than the world’s rhythm, to his melody rather than the drumbeat of the world.
But I’m now beginning to realise that right at the centre of this is a different attitude – Jesus said Himself that He had come to bring life in all its fullness, and this is a big part of that.
Again, a phrase of Jesus suddenly seems to take on new meaning. (I find it so amazing that even 2000 years later we can find new and deeper meaning to these ancient texts – incredible! Anyway, back on topic…)
To live the way of Jesus means to live a life of meaning, purpose, where every day counts, with an awareness that we don’t live forever in these bodies, but that we have a promise of eternal life in a restored heaven and earth.
Being aware that although we do die, that our stories won’t end.
However, we only have finite time on this earth, in this body, and God wants us to make the most of it.
To live according to His rhythm is to live with an awareness of every moment, every opportunity, making the most of every day, living a better story. Being aware of the reality of our mortality, and making every day count.
To live the way of Jesus is to live a momentus life, a fulfilled life, where nothing is wasted and we don’t remain just good potential.
It’s a life that leaves a legacy, a life that serves the purposes of God, a life beyond anything we could have planned or imagined ourselves. A momentus life, where we seize every moment, and value every moment because we know our time here is limited, and because we’re aware of this amazing gift of life we’ve been given. Just like through Jesus death and resurrection we have can have eternal life, only by embracing the reality of our future death can we truly live life to the full.
To be honest about death, can make our lives worth living. Appreciating the reality of our mortality can help us to value the gift of life we’ve been given, and really make the most of it.
When we do die, people will talk about us. About our lives, how we lived.
What story do you to be told about your life?
What do you want to be your legacy?
How can you make the most of today – and live a momentus life?
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