3 Things That Matter to a Dying Person
What I was reminded of by talking to my grandfather.
To my kids:
Recently I spent some time with my grandfather - your great-grandfather. His health hasn’t been good lately, and the bad news from his doctors continues to pile up.
While it was just the two of us late at night in a hospital room, he shared some of the things on his mind. I hope he has a lot of time left, but he has been facing some serious health issues.
As he came face-to-face with his own mortality, these three things were the themes of our conversation in that hospital room.
Life is Precious
I guess we don’t realize how much we appreciate our life until we see the end of our life approaching.
Even as I’m writing this to you, I’m thinking about my life from the perspective that maybe - hopefully - I’ve got another 40-50 years to live. Thinking ahead isn’t necessarily bad, but it can cause us to lose sight of how precious our life today is.
When you get to the end of the road and realize you don’t have years left - instead, you might have months or weeks left - you realize how precious life really is.
God reminded us that life is like a mist or a puff of smoke that’s here one moment and gone the next (James 4:14).
I hope and pray you kids have a lot of life ahead of you, and I hope I’m here to see many years of your life. But never forget how precious life is.
Time is Limited
You only have so much time in this life. When that time is up, that’s it.
The time you have to work is limited. The time you have to build relationships with people you love is limited. Everything we do in this life has a “time limit” on it.
Right now, your Mom and I give you kids time limits on video games. You have fun, play your time, and then your time is up. But you know I’m getting more tomorrow.
Sometimes we live our life this way - like we always have more time tomorrow. We leave important things undone because “I can do it tomorrow.” We put off mending broken relationships because “there’s always time to make things right.” We put off obeying the gospel or making our life right with God because we think we can always “get right” later.
Sometimes we fool ourselves into thinking we have plenty of time - but do we?
Regret over Missed Opportunities is Real
What if a person has lived their life thinking, “I’ve got plenty of time to do this, or say that, or reconcile with this person,” and the next thing they know, they’re lying in a bed, staring up at the ceiling while the last few moments of their life tick away.
The regret that person has over missed opportunities is a very real thing. Don’t try to convince yourself it’s not.
One of the reasons I write as much as I do is that I don’t want to look up at the end of my life and realize “I didn’t do nearly as much as I should or could have done.” Now is the time to reach as many souls with the gospel of Christ as I can - because “the night is coming when no one can work” (John 9:4).
Part of the reason I’m writing these letters for you is that I don’t want the regret of reaching the end of my life and still having so much I should have taught you or said to you.
You get one life with limited time and limited opportunities. How will you use your life? What will you do with the opportunities that come your way?
Don’t live your life in such a way that 1) you are unprepared to stand before God when death comes, and 2) you will look back at your life and think, “What a waste.”
Until next time,
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They say that most people in their deathbed regret the things they didn't do rather than the things that they did do.