Monday, February 13, 2012
Living Like There is No Tomorrow
In the past couple of weeks, people have suddenly passed from the scene. I think of a friend who attended our church and worked in our local grocery store. He was diagnosed with throat cancer and in a matter of a few weeks, he was gone. Then, yesterday at church, we heard of someone who had been recovering from surgery and by all appearances was getting along quite well. During her stay at a local rehab center, she suddenly died. It took everyone by surprise. These examples point to one thing. We are to make the most of each day.
Scripture speaks of the frailty of our human life: "Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom" (Psalm 90:12). Then in Psalm 39:4-6, we read: "O Lord, make me know my end and what is the measure of my days; let me know how fleeting I am! Behold you have made my days a few handbreadths, and my lifetime is as nothing before you. Surely all mankind stands as a mere breath! Surely a man goes about as a shadow! Surely for nothing they are in turmoil; man heaps up wealth and does not know who will gather!"
Coming into the recognition that our time here is brief should help us to value each day and provide us with greater clarity. In fact, there are several reasons why it is good to live like today may be our last.
First, we have much more wisdom in the way in which we use our time if we remember that each day is a gift from God. We develop a greater focus on our tasks at hand and deal with problems and issues more wisely. Psalm 90:12 was a prayer of Moses. He certainly was charged with a huge task of taking a large number of people into the Promised Land. Moses needed God's wisdom applied in his every moment, and so do we.
Secondly, when we realize the brevity of life, we are more highly motivated to work on our relationship with God and our fellow man. We so often put off till tomorrow what we should have done today...like returning a phone call left on a voice mail, writing an email to a friend who is hurting, taking time to visit others, putting aside time to study God's Word and pray to name a few. If we thought that we would not be around tomorrow, wouldn't we want to make certain that we told our family members and friends that we loved them? Wouldn't we want to make amends for any wrong doing? Sad to say, we often postpone these things thinking we have lots of time to communicate with others. Now is the time to do these things because tomorrow is not guaranteed.
Another reason we should live like there is no tomorrow is that it causes us to develop goals and a greater sense of vision. Instead of flailing around with our activities and procrastinating, we would be able to determine what is really important and complete the tasks we have set before us. This helps not only in our jobs but also in our homes. I can honestly say that when I set a goal for myself I am able to schedule the time more efficiently to get it done. Otherwise, I will never complete anything. I speak from experience as over the years I have begun a number of embroidery projects only to put them in the closet till another day. I had no goal or timetable. Now I try to set up deadlines and continue to do a little each day to complete the task at hand. Whether it is a stitching project or a work/ministry endeavor, we need to work like we might not be here tomorrow. This mindset makes a difference.
A fourth reason for keeping our life in perspective is that we will become more dedicated to God. Our present life is brief here on earth, but we will spend eternity with the Father. Will we be ready to meet Him? How well do we know Him? Daily quiet times are so important, yet, we tend to rush out the door thinking we will spend time with God later. But "later" never happens. The tyranny of the urgent always seems to win unless we change our outlook. How much richer our life could be each day if we would meditate on the Word while we work, enjoy our family and go about our daily routine. This is the abundant life that Jesus told us we would have in Him.
Finally, the value we place on the things of this world would radically change if we live like there is no tomorrow. Jesus told us in Matthew 6:19-21: "Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also." God has made us to glorify Him and enjoy Him forever. We will spend a brief 60-100 years on this earth (if we are lucky), but we will spend eternity with Him. The question is...are we ready?
Each new day, we need to awaken with praise that we are alive and purpose to glorify God in all that we do. Living like there is no tomorrow will bring about a shift in our thinking, and help us to live with greater urgency. My mother used to say, "Time's a wasting" as I wanted to dawdle instead of work. These are good words of advice in reality. May our goal be to live each moment to the utmost and work to fulfill God's plan for our lives so we may hear Him say: "Well done, thou good and faithful servant....enter into the joy of your Master" (Matt. 25:21). Selah!