DayBreaks for 7/16/15: Live As If You Were Dying
From the DayBreaks archive, 7/13/2005:
We just finished our participation in the American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life for 2005. Here in Cloverdale, the Relay was held from July 9 – 10. As I walked the track on Saturday night, I was overwhelmed with the sense of the incredible amount of suffering in the world. As I circled the track that was lined with lighted bags in memory of and in honor of those who have dealt with cancer, I started to cry thinking of the families torn apart by the disease. Just a short time earlier during the luminaria ceremony, a song was played and one of the phrases from the song struck me. It was something like this: “Live as if you were dying.”
The song was supposedly about the singer’s father, who had found out that he was dying. When the singer asked his father what he did after finding out, the father replied that he went Rocky Mountain climbing, skydiving, etc., in short – he was living his life as if he were dying.
Two thoughts came to mind:
FIRST: if we live our life as if we were dying, we will try to live it to the fullest. After all, if your life were soon to come to an end, aren’t there things that you want to do that you’ve not yet done? I would probably go to Alaska, where I’d see the beautiful scenery and fish. I’d like to visit the Grand Canyon and Glacier National Park again. I also wouldn’t mind a trip to a warm, tropical beach somewhere. There are many things in our lives that we’ve dreamed of but never done. To live as if you were dying makes you see life differently and to live it differently. I’m afraid we all too often live as if we will live forever (yes, I know that as Christians we WILL live forever), but I’m talking about life in this world, where we have a finite amount of time to live. As much pain as there is in this world, there is incredible beauty and joy and great love to be seen and experienced. Yet we rob ourselves of those God-given delights by living as if we’ll be here forever, so we put them off, figuring that there’ll always be time for them “later”. For many, “later” never comes.
SECOND: to live our life as if we were dying will not only lead us to experience more of the world God has created for our joy, but it will cause us to experience less of it at the same time. Or at least, to choose more carefully what things we will enjoy and experience and which things we won’t. Not everything in this world that would claim to give us great joy can fulfill the “promise.” It’s a lesson that came hard to Eve in the garden – she choose unwisely, believing the lie that sin was the ultimate pleasure and joy.
If we live as if we are dying, the importance of our choices and how we spend our time and energies becomes dramatically clear.
I pray that you and I will all live as if we are dying for the rest of our lives.
Psalm 90:12 – So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom.”
Hebrews 9:27 – And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment…
PRAYER: Father, we fritter our time away on so many frivolous things and we don’t truly appreciate all the moments you have granted us. Help us do better today than we did yesterday so we may live this day wisely! In Jesus’ name, Amen.
© 2015, Galen C. Dalrymple.
To email Galen, click here: E-mail Galen.