This past Friday I met Chuck for coffee at Starbucks. In July of 2004 doctors told Chuck that he had advanced stage cancer—incurable. They told him that death was imminent, that he had one to two years to live. It has been nearly three years now and Chuck is doing well, but he knows he may only have six more months, or a year, or a day.
Chuck told me that living with lingering cancer is a constant reminder that death is right around the corner. He said that every day he wakes up is a special day. That people will often ask if they can pray for him and he responds, “You can pray for God to heal me if you want to, but I would rather have you pray that God would use me through this.”
I asked Chuck how his life had changed when the doctors gave him the news that he was dying in 2004. He answered, “I started doing the things I had always wanted to do. And then I got closer to God. I made sure my relationship with God was good. And now, I center my life around other people. Every morning I get up and my purpose is to see how many people I can help.”
Chuck and I spent nearly an hour together at Starbucks. Just before we were finishing our time together he said, “You know Greg, I could walk out of this coffee shop right now, get hit by a car and die. The cancer wouldn’t kill me six months or a year from now, but I would still be dead.” And then he looked at me and said, “The same thing could happen to you.”
How would your life be different if you knew you were dying? Because we all are. Unlike Chuck, we just don’t know when. What would you do if you knew you had only two years left to live?
We have a tendency to say “Someday I’m going to do this.” Or, “Someday I’m going to do that.” And all of a sudden our lives get stuck in “someday” mode. Someday I’m going to learn to speak Spanish. Someday I’m going to write a book. Someday I’m going to see the Grand Canyon. Someday I’m going to go back to school. Someday I’m going to get my relationship right with God.
And then one day we wake up and realize that “someday” has passed us by. We come to the realization that all of the things we planned on doing “someday” can no longer be done.
This morning I made a “someday” list. I wrote down the things that I want to do “someday.” I’m going to start doing them today.
Great thoughts, and great sermon. I have definately been more thoughtful of my actions, my time and my purpose.
I have put up the picture of the guy jumping between cliffs with the “Live like you were dying” cation on my wall at work.
I want to live like I were dying because I am.