If you knew you had only 30 minutes left to live, how would you live that 30 minutes differently? It’s a question perhaps none of us have thought about, and fortunately none of us have been forced to. Truth be told, which of us know without a doubt that we have more than 30 minutes left? None of us can actually be certain of that, if we’re totally honest, and yet few if any of us live as though it might be true. I include myself in that observation. I can sincerely say that when I wake up in the morning most days I take that for granted. The fact that I woke up? Yes, exactly. If I were truly cognizant of the fact that the very act of waking up is a gift … which it is … I would more earnestly arise with Psalms 118:24 on my lips –
This is the day the Lord has made. We will rejoice and be glad in it.
The thing is, all of us have only 30 minutes left. The only question is when does that 30-minute countdown start?
In 2007, I was asked to speak at the memorial service for a sweet little girl whose family were neighbors of ours. She passed away at eight years, four months, and three days old. That was the entirety of her life, and yet I shared that day what I truly meant … that we had the opportunity that day to remember not the things she didn’t accomplish but the things she did. You see, even at that incredibly young age, as awful as her passing into eternity was in temporal terms (and it was), that little girl who fought for three years a cancer that ultimately prevailed was victorious in many ways that many of us often miss. It’s about 100 percent.
How do you know what your life will be like tomorrow? Your life is like the morning fog—it’s here a little while, then it’s gone.
Teach us to realize the brevity of life, so that we may grow in wisdom.
For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.
You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body and knit me together in my mother’s womb. Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex! Your workmanship is marvelous—how well I know it. You watched me as I was being formed in utter seclusion, as I was woven together in the dark of the womb. You saw me before I was born. Every day of my life was recorded in your book. Every moment was laid out before a single day had passed.
These passages talk in part about two inescapable concepts: the finite and short nature of our lives, and the fact that no matter how finite and short our lives might be, God intends for them to have purpose. God’s desire is that we live whatever number of days He grants us to 100 percent. That is, to passionately live out our lives to accomplish 100 percent of our purpose. To live with 100 percent intentionality. To be grateful for 100 percent of the time we have.
In other words, it’s not about the time we don’t get here on earth. It’s about the time we do get. It’s not about what we don’t get to do in life, it’s about what we do get to do. It’s not about how much life we live, it’s about how we live the lives we get. That was true of that little girl, and it’s true for you and me.
Life IS short. There’s no questioning that. As I sit here well into the 2nd half of my life, I can say with no hesitation that the 53 years of my life behind me have gone by in what seems to be the blink of an eye. If I am granted 20 more years, I’m sure the 73 years of my life behind me at that point will seem no less the snap of a finger in retrospect. But the Ephesians 2 and Psalms 139 passages above show quite clearly that time is not the measuring stick of impact while we’re here on earth. God has lain before us some number of days, short or long, in order for us to accomplish kingdom purposes. What gives God most glory is also what He most desires to give us most good … that is, to live 100 percent of our lives at 100 percent of our purpose.
Tim McGraw’s song, “Live Like You Were Dying,” is a song about 100 percent …
I went skydiving, I went Rocky Mountain climbing, I went 2.7 seconds on a bull named Fumanchu. 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.
Now, whether skydiving or climbing or bull riding is your thing or not isn’t particularly the point. It speaks to me more about the intensity of moments and the focus on difference making every chance we get. That’s 100 percent. It’s neglecting nothing and no one. It’s adding legacy in short snippets of time. It’s recognizing the hugeness of small encounters. It’s honoring the value of otherwise overlooked people. It’s showing people that would never see otherwise the love of their Creator.
100 percent means not wasting time or opportunities. I remember when I was a very young driver (and a cocky one at that), realizing I was low on gas in my old 1974 Volkswagon Beetle. In my arrogance and in my questionable prioritization of other things in life, I kept driving though I knew my gas tank was getting emptier and emptier. As I finally capitulated and made my way nervously to the gas station (fearing I wouldn’t make it), I pulled in and drove up to the station just as the last of the fuel in my car was being consumed. I literally coasted with what little momentum I had to the tank. Barely. In a way, it was satisfying … knowing that I made it with no margin for error … but also knowing that I used everything in the tank. The same is true when I do a really hard workout and put my all into it. I feel ground down to a nub when it’s done, but there’s a huge sense of satisfaction that is impossible to detach.
That’s 100 percent. It means using every drop of gas in the tank of our lives, ending on fumes. It means working hard with every moment to feel that satisfaction of being done with something hard and taxing, but good. We will all live 100 percent of our lives. That’s what we have allotted to us. None of us will have a shortage and none of us get overtime. We get 100 percent. That’s it. What matters, then, is how will we use our 100 percent?
Will we live it like there’s only 30 minutes left? Will we dedicate ourselves to living out God’s purpose and plan for our lives? Will we love others the way the Bible tells us HE loves them? Imagine what our world would be like if we did.
Soli Deo gloria!