Yesterday, a friend from my seminary days and a partner in ministry, specifically in doing youth camps together, went home to be with the Lord after an intense battle with a genetic disease called Fanconi Anemia which had led to bone marrow failure. His bone marrow transplant went well, but there were other complications that happened after the surgery and yesterday, God fully healed his body by calling him home. He was 37 years old and leaves behind his wife and two young boys. I was stunned that someone I had been "in the trenches" with in seminary, someone not much older than I, and someone who was receiving great care and looking like he was going to make it, suddenly passed away. My heart breaks from his family. My heart aches for his church. And my heart rejoices that he has run his race to completion and is home with his Savior.
In moments like these, I feel the fragility of life, the onrush of eternity on the horizon, and the fact that it is only a matter of time before my time runs out. What will I do with the incredibly short time that is left? Oh to live with eternity stamped on my eyes as Jonathan Edwards used to say. To realize God could call me home at any moment, that our lives are a vapor, that we must number our days seeing as God has numbered them. If I were to go home to be with the Lord at 37 as my friend did, what would I prioritize in the few short years remaining? What would you prioritize?
1) Putting Myself in the Way of Truth
I would prioritize using my time to intake as much Truth as possible. Whether through reading good books, spending the majority of my reading in THE Book, God's Word, listening to sermons, listening to Scripture-saturated music, I would want to take every opportunity I could to prepare my heart to meet the God of Truth. Knowing that God's Word will not return void but always accomplishes something as it goes forth, I would want to stand in front of Its "going forth" as often as I could. Even Paul, knowing he had a few short months left to live, asked Timothy to send the "books, especially the parchments" so that he could read and study, preparing his heart for eternity (2 Timothy 4:13).
2) Fellowshipping With Those Around Me
I would prioritize being with my family and my friends. I would be at every family gathering, and any time the church opened its doors, I'd be there to be with the people I love. I would want to make sure I was doing my best to intentionally leave a legacy of love, peace, kindness, and compassion, to impact those around me with Christ-like love as well as be impacted by their Christ-like example. I would stop texting people and actually get together with them, face to face. I would work as hard as I could to be at peace with all men. Time is far too short and too valuable to live in bitter conflict. In light of eternity being so near, I would cherish every relationship God has given to me and squeeze every last ounce of joy from those God has graciously allowed me to call friend.
3) Making Disciples
I would prioritize sharing the Gospel, whether with those who have yet to repent and trust in Jesus alone for salvation or with those that are redeemed by His blood and are growing in Godliness. I would make every effort to present everyone I know mature and complete in Christ. There would be urgency knowing every conversation I have with a certain individual might be my last opportunity to show them Christ. I would pour my life into faithful men who would be able to teach others also such that the church would continue to grow, multiply, and reach more and more for Jesus.
So, if that is what I would do, knowing that my time is short, that is what I will do. That is what I have given my life to do, namely, putting myself in the way of Truth as often as possible, living intentionally with and compassionately loving the people God has placed in my life, and doing my best to point them all to Jesus. As my friend, who is now with the Lord, said during his graduating testimony at The Master's Seminary, "The God of time has given us time so that we may give that very same time back to Him, complete with all the work that He has given us the time to do." His time is completed and his work as a faithful servant of Christ on this earth is done. Ours is not. Not yet. But the taste of eternity grows more intense every new year that God allows me to live. Our time is running out and our time will be up sooner than we know.
So, what will you do with the time that's left?