By Dr. Harold Sala
Just as man is destined to die once, and after that to face judgment, so Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many people; and he will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for him. Hebrews 9:27-28
If you knew that you had only 60 days to live, what would you do? That was the question I asked our staff as we met for our Monday morning staff meeting. For a few seconds, it was very quiet and sober. Then the ice was broken. “Well, for one thing,” commented one of our men, “I’d stop paying my bills!” Those remarks were in jest because the one who said that would leave no bill unpaid.
But there are times when every person needs to stop and to evaluate his life, what he or she is doing, and whether or not it is worth the time and effort, whether or not you are living a squirrel cage existence doing the same thing day after day, week after week, going through the motions with no sense of accomplishment and no real purpose in life. One result of serious tragedies or near mishaps when one lives and others die, is that the survivor never looks at life the same way.
Mark Twain, the American humorist, once said that he wished he knew where he was going to die because he would never go near the place. We’re all like that to a degree. We even tend to avoid the subject, not acknowledging that the only thing that is sure about life is that you won’t get out of it alive.
I’m thinking of the very wealthy man who was diagnosed with tuberculosis, and the doctor told him that the only thing which might add months or possibly years to his life was to move to a warm, dry climate. After considerable research, he had his chauffeur drive him to a small Arizona town.
As the car came to a stop in front of the local post office, the rich man pushed the down button on the window of his Mercedes. Then leaning out the window, he addressed several local men who were sitting on the steps in front of the post office. “Excuse me,” he began, “but could you tell me what the death rate is in this place?” A cowboy who hadn’t seen a bathtub for a considerable period of time, spat on the sidewalk and drawled, “Same as it is back where you come from, mister, just one to a customer.” He was right.
Long ago Moses sat around a camp fire in the desert and said, “We live out our years like one long sigh. Each of us lives for 70 years—or even 80 if we are in good health, but the best of them bring trouble and misery. Indeed, they are soon gone, and we fly away.” Then he cried from the heart, “Teach us to number each of our days so that we may grow in wisdom” (Psalm 90:10,12).
Do you remember that initial question, “If you knew that you had only 60 days to live what would you do?” How would you answer? Cram for your finals and get right with God? Visit your parents? Write some letters? Ask forgiveness of someone you have hurt? Clear your conscience by returning what you took years ago? Make sure that you tell your children, or your dad or mom, how much you love them?
OK, if these things are important, why wait? Who knows that you have 60 days, to say nothing of 6 years or even 60 minutes? Mark Twain once said that you need to live every day so that even the undertaker would be sad when you die.
I know one thing for sure. A lot of people would make peace with God if they knew that time was running out for them, and the sad thing is the joy and happiness they are missing, thinking that they will wait until the doctor says, “Your time is about gone,” to get on with the business of finding God. A closing thought: Wise is the person who doesn’t leave some things to the last 60 days of his life. No wonder Paul said, “I tell you, now is the time of God’s favor, now is the day of salvation” (2 Corinthians 6:2). Why wait?
Resource reading: Romans 10