What would you do?

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about what life would be like if I
actually knew the number of days I had left on this planet.  I
mean, all of us know that our days are numbered but there are some
situations that people actually come face to face with the fact that
their time on Earth is limited.  It may be a diagnosis.  It
may be a brush with death.  It may be that they’ve reached a ripe
old age and it’s just inevitable that time is running short.  But
what would the rest of my life look like if I actually lived every day
as if it were my last?  It’s the question Tim McGraw asks, “What would you do with it?”

I know the question has been asked before.  Lots of folks have a
list of the things that they want to do before they die.  Most of
them involve some type of experience.  Sky diving.  A trip to
the Great Wall of China.  Learn to play the guitar.  Run a
marathon (personally, I would have to be dying to try this). 
Drive across the country looking at every historical marker
possible.  But none of these things live on after the last breath
is taken.  Don’t get me wrong.  I don’t think that there’s
anything wrong with experience.  In fact, I’m all for it! 
I’ve even got my own list.  But if I only had a few days left,
would I spend them on me or on something that would last well beyond me?

I spent a little time this morning looking at what Jesus did during his
last hours on the planet, and I like the list that he was working off
of:

  1. Have dinner with a few close friends. 
    The Last Supper is all about relationships and legacy.  Jesus knew
    what was coming for these guys and he wanted them to have something to
    hold onto when he was gone.  He ties his relationship with them to
    a ritual that was deeply ingrained in the life of these Jewish men so
    that they would have something powerful to remind them of his
    relationship and love for them.
  2. Take a walk in the Garden. 
    Jesus needed to spend some more time with his friends so he took them
    out for a walk in the Garden.  He talked about Vines and
    Branches.  He spent some time in prayer for them and for
    himself.  But mostly he walked in the Garden, much the way his
    Father walked in the Garden with Adam.
  3. Reconnect with the Father. 
    Jesus was so tuned in to this relationship that it was natural for him
    to spend some time alone with God.  Prayer was not a waste of
    precious time…it was a precious time.
  4. Take a stand for Truth. 
    Jesus stood in the middle of accusations and lies as the Truth. 
    He didn’t apologize for who he was.  He never said, “I’m so sorry
    I’ve offended you.”  He stood for all that is Truth and kept his
    eyes on what he knew to be his destination.
  5. Accept help.  Jesus
    didn’t charge Simon and take the cross from him.  He had all of
    the power in the universe at his disposal, but he allowed a fellow
    human the grace of helping out. 
  6. Be kind to a stranger. 
    The thief on the cross didn’t deserve the gift that Jesus gave him —
    which is what makes it a gift!  Jesus could have been totally
    focused on himself, but he spent the last minutes of his life
    comforting a dying man.
  7. Take care of loose ends. 
    Jesus didn’t leave his earthly family without tying up a few loose
    ends.  He made sure that his mother was taken care of by someone
    that he trusted. 
  8. Leave a legacy of forgiveness and love. 
    Even as the last breath was taken, Jesus forgave the very people that
    caused him such pain.  He loved even when they were the most
    unlovable.

The thing that leaps out at me is that Jesus’ last few days weren’t
about experiences.  They were about relationships.  That’s
what lives on.  That’s what lasts.  So for all of the Tim
McGraw fans of the world (and for the rest of us) “live like you were
dying” means to “love like you were dying.” 

What about you?  What’s on your list?  Or better yet…who’s on your list?

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~ by Chris Green on June 28, 2005.

2 Responses to “What would you do?”

  1. After experiencing a funeral with dear friends last week this has been on my mind. I have never thought of all the things that I might have missed “doing”. I would want to take some time to tell people how important they are to me. I would also want to tell them how important they are to God.I know that I cannot compare myself to Jesus, but I think having dinner with my closest friends would be a great way to spend my final evening….Like you the only way I would run a marathon is if that mob in the garden was chasing me!When you get through it all it is about relationships! Thank you for this reminder.(do you know why your blog never shows up in my blogline account? Yes I have selected you.)

  2. This is SO good. thanks

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