Daily Devotional - Tuesday, July 7, 2020
“We must quickly carry out the tasks assigned us by the one who sent us. The night is coming, and then no one can work” (John 9:4).
When Jesus spoke these words to His disciples He wanted them to understand that we each have work to do, but not an unlimited amount of time in which to complete our tasks. He knew His life on earth was coming to an end and that He still had work to do, so there was no time for taking it easy. Ephesians 2:10 tells all of us who have made a commitment to serve Jesus with our lives that, “We are God’s workmanship, created anew in Christ Jesus, to do good works God planned in advance for us to do.” However, without a known time line, it can be too easy for even God’s children to become complacent and procrastinate...acting as though we have all the time in the world to do the good God wants us to do.
The truth of the matter is that none of us knows our date of expiration. I am reminded, however, of the final six months of my father’s life. The ‘call’ came in October 2002. My father who appeared to be entirely healthy had one morning been rushed to the hospital and, after preliminary tests, was diagnosed with fourth stage cancer. For those of you unfamiliar with the terminology, it meant that his cancer had spread to multiple parts of his body–significantly decreasing the chance of success for any treatment. He was dying. Doctors didn’t know how much longer he would live, but gave him between two to six months. Life changed instantly for my father knowing that every day he lived could very well be his last.
He quit his job and for the next five months he worked to prepare for his departure. He knew he was on his way to heaven, but spent more time with God–his impending death left no room but to be entirely serious about his relationship with Him. He put his finances in the best possible order that he could for my mother. They had never been wealthy and had not seen the need for health insurance, but he made certain that the loose ends were tied off; when he died he did so debt free, attempting to make things as easy for his wife of 35 years as he could. He was more open about his faith and relationship with God. He made a point of sharing his faith with his many unsaved friends and family to a degree he had never done in the past. His oncoming death made the need to share about his faith far more urgent.
His final month was difficult. His condition up to this point had been asymptomatic–God had blessed him with good health despite the cancer that was consuming him internally. As the physical pain grew, I believe that another pain also grew. An emotional one. He had been able to prepare, close off and reconcile all things in preparation for his death except one. I have a sister who has been estranged from our family for years–she wanted nothing to do with my parents or anything connected with them. My parents weren’t perfect...which of us are? In my growing up years, I knew dad as a hard worker, loved by many, but also an individual who lacked patience and control over his anger. In many ways, he was a product of the household in which he had grown; he was a new Christian and was still growing in what it meant to have the fruit of the Spirit in his life. As an adult, my dad and I had experienced a restored relationship brought about by God’s grace, forgiveness and mercy; but my sister never did and dad’s final six months proved to be too short a time to sufficiently heal the hurts of the past for any kind of reconciliation.
How might have things turned out differently had my father lived as though every day could be his last–not just in his final months, but every day? How might my life look differently if I lived each day as though it were my last? Being able to acknowledge that we each have an impending expiration date–these bodies that we live in are just not meant to go on forever–is healthy and helpful. It allows us to refocus on what is truly important, to deal with things that if left undone cause regret, and to get serious about living life as God’s children–forgiven, with new purpose and with work to do. In the words of Billy Graham, “Learn to live each day as if it were your last. Someday it will be.”
~ Pastor Jane
First licensed for pastoral ministry in 1994, Pastor Jane Peck has served in camp and church ministries in three denominations, five provinces and in a variety of roles. Her most recent position is that of Pastor at Hope Chapel which she began in 2020. She is excited to see what God can and will do in the days to come!