There’s a country song by Tim McGraw titled “Live Like You Were Dying” that I actually love. It’s about a man in his 40s getting the news of cancer and his answer is to live what he has left in life… to the fullest. Now the first few lines in the chorus are about what most people think of when they imagine living life to the fullest.
I went skydiving
I went Rocky Mountain climbing
I went 2.7 seconds on a bull named Fumanchu
Everyone has a bucket list and the first reaction to this man was to get on that bucket list right away. But the next set of lyrics move from a selfish bucket list mentality to the kind of end of life thinking modeled by Jesus.
And I loved deeper
And I spoke sweeter
And I gave forgiveness I’d been denying
And he said
“Someday I hope you get the chance
To live like you were dying”
While his first reaction to life ending news was inward, he quickly figured out that those things would eventually mean nothing. But how he left others behind, that would be remembered beyond himself. Jesus demonstrated this kind of outward heart on His last night with His disciples.
Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into his hands, and that he had come from God and was going back to God, rose from supper. He laid aside his outer garments, and taking a towel, tied it around his waist. Then he poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples’ feet and to wipe them with the towel that was wrapped around him. – John 13:3-5
In the final moments Christ would have with His loved ones (at least in human form), He served them. Jesus demonstrated how we should respond, not just in the end, but all the time. Most of us will not get the kind of news the 40 year old man got in the Tim McGraw song. Most of us will not have the advance warning that our time is near. Be it from an accident, a sudden heart attack or just later in life, we simply don’t know when our time will come. But do we really need to wait for that kind of news before we decide to live like we are dying?
The point in McGraw’s last line in the chorus is that we can choose to live that way now. He wasn’t saying that he hopes we get this kind of news that we ARE dying. He said, “Someday I hope you get the chance to live like you are dying.” Not in a rush to cross off items on our bucket list, but in a way to truly love and serve the ones we truly love.
If every word out of your mouth, if every action you did… could be your last… would you alter your words or your actions? I think the truth is, every one of us would. Nobody can do this 100% of the time, we’re not perfect. But what if we started working on increasing the frequency we thought like this. If we spoke and acted as if it were the last thing our loved ones would experience with us. How much better would life be?
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