My church just completed a message series entitled ‘Living Like You’re Dying.’ Yes – I know it sounds morbid, but stay with me :).
The central theme of the series was that people who have only a limited time to live (and know it) have a certain perspective and clarity about life. Suddenly, things which seemed so crucial in the daily rush of things pale in comparison to those which carry eternal value. Efforts are made to mend relationships and put affairs in order. But, the message argues, why wait until a death sentence to live a life that counts? Why not start now so that we can end our days with the satisfaction that we made the best decisions possible, focused on the right things and took the correct actions? It stands to reason that the ability to step boldly into the next phase of eternity has a lot to do with the quality of life lived in this one. With no regrets, the exit from this reality becomes much easier to undertake.
But the pressures of life are all too real and immediate – bills to be paid, families to be cared for. Without the aid of a life countdown, how do we daily determine what we should be focusing on now?
Daniel 11:32b says that “those who know their God shall be strong and carry out great exploits.”
Daniel, Shadrach, Meschach and Abednego knew their God and ended up defying fiery furnaces and lion’s dens. Esther knew her God and risked her life to stand uninvited before the king. The prophets and disciples knew their God and sacrificed life and limb to spread the good news to a desperate world. The 4th century Monk Telemachus knew his God and gave himself up to end the barbaric gladiator games. Jim Elliot, Nate Saint, Ed McCully, Pete Flemming and Roger Youderian knew their God and left their families in His hands as they reached out to a remote Native Indian tribe for the gospel’s sake.
What do these all have in common? They were ready to die (and many did) while answering God’s call upon their lives. The result? Lives so rich and abundant, they are still talked and taught about today.
Not all life abundant gestures are obviously life threatening, though. Sometimes, lives of abundance require other types of sacrifice. Think Mother Theresa.
Have you received a nudge from the Holy Spirit? Is there something holding you back from living life abundantly and with courage – regardless of consequences?
Take Jesus’ words Matthew 16:25 with you this week and always, ‘For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it.”