What would change immediately if you knew that you would die at this same time and same day next year? What would you stop doing and what would you start doing? Who would carry priority and who wouldn’t? Where would you go and where would you not go?
I really want to leave a legacy. I want to make an impact on those around me and especially to bring God the glory He rightfully deserves. I genuinely don’t want to live my life on the hamster wheel. I want to make the most impact on those around me and for the God who bought me with His blood.
That’s where this book proved itself so timely. I’m not usually a proponent of self-help books, but this one has really stirred me about the reality of the impact our death has on our life.
Anticipating death generates motivation
Psalm 90:12 says “Teach us to number our days so that we may present a heart of wisdom.”
Isn’t that morbid? To ask God to help Israel to remember that their days are numbered? To remind them that death is coming? Did the Psalmist actually receive motivation from such a thought? You bet! That’s why he said that it brings wisdom. If wisdom were a mathematical equation, it would look something like this:
Knowledge + time + experience = wisdom
They needed motivation; they needed their “why” back. So do we. We need to remember the answer to the “why” questions. Remembering that death is coming reminds us that we have limited time to work with to make the most impact.
Anticipating death propels us to action
At death, I will not face judgment for my atrocities, because Christ bore them already for me. However, I will face a unique kind of judgment and be rewarded for the things that I have done in the body with the Light I’ve been given. (2 Corinthians 5:10)Being saved doesn’t mean to just sit and wait. Being saved means to go and serve!
I’ve got preaching I must do. I have people to lead. I have a household to shepherd and provide for. I have people I need to reach. I have a church I need to pastor. I have disciples to make. There’s a harvest out there, and I need to get busy. I do not have much time.
Do you remember the Parable of the Talents (Matthew 25:14-30)? That story illustrates the truth about those who fearfully and lazily waste the giftedness and talent that God provided for us, for His glory, that we failed to use. I refuse to not act.
Anticipating death drives us to fruitfulness
When do people speak most highly of someone else? When they die. I once heard a pastor friend say that “people become 10 times greater than they actually were at their funeral.” It’s true. Who would want to say anything negative about someone else when their body is in the casket?
But the truth is, no matter what words are said, everyone you impacted will have an impression of your values and your life’s focus. We will leave a legacy whether we realize it or not.
What will that legacy be?
In the book referenced above, the authors challenge the reader ultimately to write their own eulogy. They ask that it is written in the present tense and to write what would be said by those closest to us. This exercise forces us to look at what legacy we are leaving.
What did you live for? What did you fight for? Who did you stand for? Where did you run to? Who did you love most? What did you teach your children? What would your parents say about you? Your kids? Your spouse? Would they groan, sigh, or laugh?