What if you died tomorrow?
A few weeks ago, on a Sunday, we woke up to the news that the Ethiopian Airlines’ plane crashed on its way to Nairobi, killing all 157 people on board. A few days later, we again woke up to horrible news – this time from New Zealand – 50 people had been killed in shootings in two mosques in Christchurch. Not even a week passed when we’d heard of another tragedy happening in an ordinary place – three people were shot dead on a tram in Utrecht in the Netherlands.
Things like these happen anywhere and can happen to anyone. They’ve happened before in the UK, France, Germany, you name the place… almost everywhere in the world.
You may be going out in the morning and thinking that, as usual, you’ll come home for dinner with your family or meet friends after work. Or you may be finishing a call to someone saying ‘see you later’ but you don’t. There’s no later. There’s no evening.
Scary? Yes. But I’m not writing this to scare you. I’m writing this to encourage a reflection on what would happen if you died tomorrow, and, hopefully, provoke a change in our lives.
News like any of the above or similar makes me stop and think – what if you died tomorrow. And it’s not just these – anyone’s sickness, diagnosis, car crash, unfortunate life event, like a robbery, makes me think: what if it’s me?
At first, it makes me scared but after that comes a time of reflection when I ask myself am I ‘prepared’ for something like this in my life.
If there’s to be any ‘benefit’ from the tragic loss of lives, it must be us coming to some conclusions and improving things for the future.
Here are questions I ask myself – will you dare too?
Am I scared?
Yes, I am. This is an honest answer. Life-threatening situations and death can scare anyone.
I’m scared of the moment of death and what will happen to my loved ones after I’m gone. However, thanks to my faith in Jesus, I know I’m going to heaven to live with Him for eternity. That’s not because I lived a perfect life, but because he died a death that made me perfect. He knows my name and he’ll open the gates of heaven to welcome me. I hope that in the face of real danger, this would help me.
But do I live like I really believe that?
Does my everyday life really reflect the fact that there’s not only this life but the eternal one too? It’s great to live a good life here and now but our faith is for eternity.
And if our hope in Christ is only for this life, we are more to be pitied than anyone in the world.1 Corinthians 15:19 (NLT)
Is my life really different than this of non-Christians? It’s not to say that non-Christians don’t live their lives well but it’s a question about my relationship with Jesus – does his influence make my life distinctive? Does my life attract people to Jesus?
If you do live as per your beliefs, that’s great – keep going. But if the answer is closer to mine – I’m not sure, maybe, sometimes… it’s worth evaluating why. Has the message of Jesus not quite sank into our hearts? Does this world and what it can offer
Am I living according to God’s will?
If I died today, would I stand at heaven’s gate and regret that at times I didn’t obey God? Would I be confident that I followed his plan for my life and lived the best possible life or would I feel I could’ve been a bit more obedient at times?
It’s a great question to ask in order to evaluate how we live our lives now – it helps us to make practical changes, trust God more and follow what is really the calling on our life. But we need to remember that the answer and the level of obedience don’t determine our salvation. Our faith in Jesus does. Our obedience should be the result of it.
If you don’t think you’re living according to God’s purpose, pray and ask Him to reveal it to you. Think of where He wants you to be in 5 or 10 years and see what changes you can implement now, to get to that point in the future.
If a member of my family or a friend died today, would I know where they’re going and had I shown them the love they deserved?
After any tragedy, we hear families and friends of the victims talking about how wonderful they were and what they appreciated in them. Did they say the same things when the person was still alive? Do we express our feelings, especially positive, towards other people often enough? Do we appreciate people close to us or do we take them for granted?
Yes, life is busy and I admit too that often I don’t have as much time as I would like to, to contact family and friends but I make the effort. If we need to make space for anything in life it’s our relationships with others and being honest and intentional (meaningful) in those relationships.
Often those closest to us receive the least applause while, in reality, we love them the most. It’s worth thinking how, in our daily lives, we can appreciate each other more, help each other and make the relationships we’ve got really meaningful and supportive.
These are not easy questions but I believe we should all be asking them from time to time and evaluate our lives based on the answers. They may show that our life as Christians isn’t that different from those of no faith or that we may need to change our priorities.
It may not be easy to face the answers but it’ll surely help you to look at your life with honesty and perhaps, with God’s help, make the changes that will make you live in a less accidental and more intentional way.
If you have asked yourself any of these questions, I would love to know what your conclusions were. If you made any changes as a result, I would also love to hear about them.
Leave the answers in the comments or email me [email protected]