Your time on earth is limited.
No matter how much this idea makes you squirm, it’s a fact. No matter who you are, how young or old, what measure of success you’ve attained, or where you live, mortality remains the great equalizer. With each tick of the clock, a moment of your life is behind you. Even as you read this paragraph, seconds passed that you can never regain. Your days are numbered, and each one that passes is gone forever.
If you’re like me, you may be tempted to view this reality as harsh and unwelcome, to let it overwhelm and even paralyze you. But that’s not my purpose—just the opposite. I’m convinced that rather than inhibiting us to play it safe, embracing our time on earth as a limited resource has incredible power to liberate us.
When I look at Jesus’ life, I see someone who knew how to live. In fact, Jesus knew how much time He had left. So how did He live when He knew He had one month left on earth? He lived out these four principles.
1. He lived passionately
In fact, we call the end of His life the passion of Christ. He lived His life all out, totally for His Father and to make a difference in the world. Jesus was the most passionate person who ever lived, and He wants us to live with that same passion. In John 10:10 He says, “I have come in order that you might
have life—life in all its fullness” (GNT).
He wants us to live a life that’s filled with the things He has for us. I recently attended the funeral of a dear woman in our church who was in her nineties when she went to be with the Lord, and everyone agreed that she had lived a good, full life. There’s a big difference between a full life and a good, full life. Maybe you’re living a full life—full of activities and stress and anxiety. But what I’m talking
about is a good, full life. This woman lived a life full of compassion, and that’s a good, full life.
2. He loved completely
John 13:1 says, “Jesus knew that the time had come for him to leave this world and go to the Father. Having loved his own who were in the world, he now showed them the full extent of his love.” So what did Jesus do when He knew He only had one month to live? He loved completely the people He was closest to. He focused on the relationships that mattered most—His disciples. And in the same way, we can love completely by focusing with high intensity on those relationships that are most important in our lives. It never ceases to amaze me how much intentionality I need to pour into my relationships with my family in order to really connect. It takes being intentional every single day with each one of our children and with each other in our marriage and in every other relationship that is important to us for those relationships to thrive.
3. He learned humbly
The third principle in the one-month-to-live lifestyle is to learn humbly, and Jesus was our greatest example of humility. Philippians 2:8 says, “He humbled himself and became obedient to death—even death on a cross!” Jesus was God Himself, and yet He humbled Himself, wrapped Himself in human flesh, and became one of us so we could experience God.
4. He left boldly
The fourth universal principle is to leave boldly, and again Jesus is our greatest example as He left an eternal legacy here on this earth, and He left boldly and went to be with His Father. He was ready to go. Luke 9:51 says, “As the time drew near for his return to heaven, Jesus resolutely set out for Jerusalem” (NLT). Jesus went to the cross boldly. He was resolute in going to the cross because of His love for us. We can leave a bold legacy on earth as well and spend our days on something that will far outlast us.
When my mom was about the age I am now, she found out that she had cancer, and it wasn’t long until she was told she had one month to live. But the beautiful thing was that she had nothing to change. From the day she heard those words, she kept on living the same way. Why? Because she had been living intentionally all along. She’d been loving the people in her life completely. She’d been
doing the things she needed to do. She hadn’t left things unsaid that she needed to say. So when she found out she had one month left, she was able to continue down the same path. My goal for you and for me is that we will live intentionally so we will have no regrets. I pray that when you and I reach our last day on this earth, we will know that we have lived completely the life we were made for.
One of the mysteries of life is that none of us knows when we’re going to die. But it’s a fact that we will die. “Man’s days are determined; you have decreed the number of his months” (Job 14:5). If we’re willing to accept this and trust God with the end point of our time on this earth, then we can focus on how we fill in that dash between the year we were born and the year we will die. We can make our dash an incredible adventure of discovery, joy, and purposeful contentment. We can live.
My challenge to you is to live every day as if you had one month to live!
Adapted from ONE MONTH TO LIVE: 10th ANNIVERSARY EDITION Copyright © 2018 by Kerry and Chris Shook. Published by WaterBrook, an imprint of Penguin Random House LLC.
Author bio: Kerry Shook and his wife, Chris Shook, founded Fellowship of The Woodlands in The Woodlands, Texas, in 1993. Since then the church has grown to three locations with a weekly attendance of more than 18,000. Fellowship of The Woodlands is counted among the fastest-growing churches in America. Kerry Shook and his church have been featured on Fox News, NBC, and PBS, and thousands around the world tune in weekly to Pastor Kerry’s televised broadcasts to hear his message of hope and encouragement.