Earlier this year I was hospitalized because of anemia brought on by medications that gave me stomach ulcers. I also suffered from a rapid heart rate (atrial fibrillation – AFIB). Recently when I was preparing a message for a funeral celebration, I was captured by two questions: What if I only had 24 hours to live? What if the Lord was coming back today?
As I ask myself those probing questions, my attitudes and actions are changing!
When someone is rude or irritating, I turn the other cheek and pray for him or her … knowing that I might be standing before the Lord tomorrow!
When I think I am too busy to pray or study God’s Word, I affirm my total dependence on God, and I remember that an intimate conversation with Jesus is my number one priority.
When I have opportunity to be with my wife or family, I jump at the chance to spend quality time with my “inner circle” people.
When I walk through the airport, my heart is moved to compassion for each person, and I pray for these strangers. I am also not so quick to push to the front of the line to board the plane!
When temptation comes my way, the enemy’s sly deceit loses its luster in light of the realization that I could soon be standing before my Lord for my final accounting.
When I am with a pre-Christian friend, I feel the urgent need to share a word of hope in Christ with him or her, even at the risk of being embarrassed or rejected.
When I am with a hurting person, I immediately take a few minutes to pray for that one rather than simply promising to pray.
This simple question is changing me to live in the reality of maranatha: “Our Lord is coming soon.” I am discovering that my life priority is my relationship with God, my family, and my neighbors.
“Make it clear … to all you meet that you’re on their side … Help them see that the Master is about to arrive. He could show up any minute” (Philippians 4:5, MSG).
“‘Wake up, sleeper, rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.’ Be very careful, then, how you live — not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil” (Ephesians 5:14–16, NIV).
What if I knew that I only had 24 hours to live?
“Be patient and stand firm, because the Lord’s coming is near” (James 5:8, NIV). “Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom” (Psalms 90:12, NIV) and live a no-regrets life, to the glory of God!