What you are about to read is not written with any death-wish. I’m not suicidal, and I’m not trying to be morbid or gloomy for effect. That being said, the older I get, the more I realize, death is real. Not a real possibility, but an actual eventuality.
On this side of eternity, we all have an expiration date.
As a human, and of course, as a pastor, I face death’s reality regularly. This past week, a dear woman in our church unexpectedly went to be with Jesus. Another Eastpointer, just a few days ago, lost her husband in a tragic accident. I could go on, but I won’t. You’re already thinking about someone you’ve lost, and this is probably making you feel uncomfortable, if not depressed.
However, sometimes we need to pause and think about the unthinkable. There is wisdom sometimes in wrestling with things we’d rather ignore.
If you’re twenty-something, thirty-something, or maybe even fortyish, you may not think about death very often. You probably feel like you’ve got your whole life ahead of you. I get it. Perhaps, with the global pandemic, you are a bit more aware of your mortality, but you may not have a last will, and you most likely haven’t given a second thought to your funeral. That’s okay. By no means am I suggesting you get all morose and start selecting the songs for your memorial. Not yet.
But there are some things you might want to consider sooner than later.
- Is there any relationship unattended to or broken that you don’t want to leave that way? What can you do to promote peace?
- Is there something you need to ask forgiveness for or someone you need to seek out to be reconciled with before you go?
- Have you considered what legacy you want to leave with your children and grandchildren? (By the way, I don’t mean money or inheritance; I’m referring to how you want to be remembered and what impact you might have even after you’re gone.)
- Is there some family history that you’d like to pass on to the generations behind you? What do you wish you knew about your great-grandfather or great-great-grandma? The past can be a teacher and a source of inspiration for those in your wake. (It’s one of the reasons why I love to write and have published seven books to date.)
- And lastly, if you knew the date of your death, what would you accomplish today or as soon as possible? I’m not referring to fixing the broken cabinet door. I mean, what potentially impactful task truly needs to be finished before you go? Maybe it’s time to stop procrastinating.
My dad died at sixty-three. (Did I mention I’m sixty-three?) I know, because he told me so, that there were a lot of things he regretted. There were also some things he always wanted to do (like writing a book) that he never prioritized and finished.
Here’s a crazy idea: Regardless of your age today, live as if today, and perhaps tomorrow, is all you have left.
Don’t live in fear. Don’t live in a panic. Don’t get stressed out about anything. (Stress is a killer. Literally.)
But do live. Fully. Intentionally. Purposefully.
A bucket-list might be a good motivator, but whatever you call it—create it and get started.
Now. Today. Life is too short and too precious to waste.
Live like every moment is a gift because it is.
Teach us to live well! Teach us to live wisely and well! Psalm 90:12 (MSG)
This is an updated edition of a post originally published on Kurt Bubna