Wednesday, October 26, 2011
One Month To Live
How would life be different you us if we knew we only had a month to live? That is an important question to consider in Living More Than OK. Sometime ago a dear friend gave my wife and I the book One Month To Live by Kerry & Chris Shook. The Shooks are the founders of the Woodlands Church in the suburbs of Houston, Texas. A little over 10 years have passed since I had my brush with death, but stent surgery to my heart arteries saved my life. So thinking of this anniversary made me think about this book.
The premise of the book, looking at our life journey with the end in mind, is very relevant to how I have lived my life since the stents unblocked my two blocked heart arteries. Knowing that ten years ago may have been my last day has affected how I lived since then and today. The experience gave me renewed purpose for living life and that God had a purpose for my life continuing. That purpose is still cloudy sometimes yet each new morning I awake I know there is a reason to use my time wisely.
The authors early on in the book bring up an interesting analogy by mentioning cemetery grave markers. Every time I visit my hometown of Barberton, Ohio I try to visit my parent’s gravesite. The markers list their birthdate then a dash and then the day they passed away from this life. The authors note that we don’t choose our birth date and the day we die but the dash, which is the time in between we can make choices on how we use it. How very true. Do we consider how to maximize the use of our dash time?
We can live a better life if we take seriously to make the most of our dash time. One could think of the book title and think this is a morose way to live. Waking up and hiding under the covers as, “This might be the day I die. I think I will stay inside and watch Reality TV re-runs.” That is not the message of the book. When we accept our mortality we are more open to living life in a way that we can make the most of it, and hopefully impact it in a way to improve the lives of others.
In Ecclesiastes 7:4 it reads, “A wise person thinks much about death, while the fool only thinks about having a good time now.” By accepting our mortality we can make better choices with how we want to use our dash time to make the most of the fleeting time in this life. By just living for pleasurable impulses we may miss some really great opportunities that we may have enjoyed even more. The fool is just reacting to life and not thinking through how he or she wants to really live their life.
The authors speak to important topics that are found in making a flourishing life. Having a strong connected spiritual relationship to God is the foundation of life so this is highlighted in the book as primary. This relationship should be of main importance in our dash time. Relationships with others are also stressed by the authors. Too many people die and those left behind have unresolved issues because relationships were not a priority. To live a life without regrets it is important to work on relationship issues in the land of the living.
Living passionately and being open to risk taking are important and so are discussed by the authors. Many come to the end of their lives with regrets because they did not do what they wanted to do in life. They always had certain things on their “get around to it” list but they never really got to them. That is one problem with such lists. We make the lists but allow the mundane activities of life to snuff out the importance of the items we really want to do.
Psalm 37:4 says “ Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart.” If your primary connection to God is right and He has placed a passion in your heart for something then take the risk to do it instead of putting it on a “get around to it” list that will be quickly covered up the others cares and day to day business of life. The importance thing about this verse of scripture is the first part. Too many people claim this as a promise for going after our desires. The text clearly shows the priority is having a right relationship to God and then the desires, passionate items, can be gone after with knowing God will be with us.
An important feature of the book I found is the “Make It Last For Life” reflection boxes at the end of each chapter. The questions help to savor the information so you can apply it to your everyday life. It is sort of a paradox being faced in this book. To truly live life to its fullest, we need to consider our death and what kind of legacy we wish to leave behind.
Reflection: What would change in your life if you knew you had a month to live? Is there something God has placed a passion in your life for?