I just returned from a conference where I heard Francis Chan speak. He emphasized taking a deep breath and then realizing it could be the last one you ever get. Our lives are so finite. Most of us don’t think a lot about death. The younger you are, the less you will think about it and the further away it will seem. While this statistically makes sense, we have all heard of those who were cut down in the prime of their life. An unexpected diagnosis or accident brings what once seemed so far away into the present reality of our here and now.
We truly have no guarantee of tomorrow, yet we make ten year plans and invest heavily for retirement. I am an obsessive and thorough planner. I’m pretty certain I even have well laid out plans for each of my plans! There is wisdom in planning, but there is even greater wisdom in seizing the moment in your hand at this instant. We must exist in the tension of living as if there is no tomorrow, but planning as if there will be. Fortunately, the future is nothing more than a bunch of right now’s strung together, so the best way to plan for the future is to live wisely and intentionally today.
Let’s get practical as to what this looks like in the life of a disciple of Jesus. Following Christ is not something we prepare to do later. That’s a magnificent lie of Satan. He tries to convince us that we’re not ready or the circumstances aren’t right for us to do the will of God. He knows too well that his future is significantly affected by our actions today. The longer he can stall his ultimate demise, the happier he will be. Our actions this very day can shorten the time he will be allowed to wreak havoc on earth.
Our goal is to live every day in a way that brings honor to God. Everything at which we look, everything we hear, and every word we speak is an indication of the strength of our relationship with Christ. No matter how big our plans for the future, if we can’t get the here and now right, we’ll never succeed in the long run. Every moment is a test of character. Every breath is a gift that results in another opportunity to serve and glorify God.
Go ahead and make your plans, but recognize that the measure of your life is the sum of your days, not the size of your goals. We need to live in a way that finds us ready to meet our Savior at any moment. When temptation of any kind elbows its way into your path, ask yourself if you would give in if you knew this would be your last action or decision on earth. Make each moment worthy of the final scene of this life, and a beautiful prelude to the next.