Summary: “What would I do if I had but one year to live?” And to make it a little bit more personal, “What would you do if you knew you had but one year to live?” Well, as I lay there in my sick bed, here are some of my answers. (PowerPoint Available - #171)
MELVIN NEWLAND, MINISTER
RIDGE CHAPEL, KANSAS, OK
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I have discovered that when you are sick that here are a lot of different thoughts that can pop into your mind. And some of those thoughts may linger for a while, causing you to mull them over & dwell upon them in your mind.
As I told some of you last week, during the first part of my illness I felt so bad that I was concerned I might die. But as the illness got worse I got to the place where I was afraid that I might live.
Of course, I was kidding. But I must admit that as I lay sick in bed, one question kept repeating itself in my mind: “What would I do if I knew that I had but one year left to live?”
“What would I do if I had but one year to live?” And to make it a little bit more personal, “What would you do if you knew you had but one year to live?” Well, as I lay there in my sick bed, here are some of the answers that I came up with.
I. THERE WOULD BE A CHANGE IN SOME OF MY ATTITUDES
If I had but one year to live I’m sure that there would be a change in some of my attitudes. There are things that seem so important now that would suddenly become unimportant in my eyes.
What the apostle John wrote in 1 John 2:16 17 would take on new significance to me: "Everything in the world the cravings of sinful man, the lust of his eyes & the boasting of what he has & does comes not from the Father but from the world.
“The world & its desires pass away, but the man who does the will of God lives forever."
For me, at least, my time in this world would soon be over. Many things in this world would no longer be as attractive to me as they have been in the past. And some of my attitudes would change, too.
A. I would be more concerned about how I used my time, & I would use my time more wisely. Most of us act as if we had all the time in the world.
ILL. Ben Franklin said, "Doest thou love life? Then do not squander time, for that is the stuff life is made of."
The apostle Paul said: "Be very careful, then, how you live not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity." (Ephesians 5:15,16)
There are many things we say that we would like to do, for which we have "no time." But if the truth were known, we have actually wasted enough time to do those things. But with only one year left to live, each minute would be a precious moment to be used to the fullest!
Two or three minutes two or three hours
What do they mean in this life of ours?
Not very much, if but counted as time
But minutes are gold & hours sublime.
If only we use them once in a while
To make someone happy, to make someone smile.
A minute may dry a little lad's tears,
An hour sweeps aside the trouble of years.
Minutes of my time may bring to an end
Hopelessness somewhere, & give me a friend.
B. I wouldn't become excited over insignificant things. All those little things that now "get under my skin" would seem so unimportant. I would try to be more patient, understanding, kind, & loving. All the acts & words of love that I should have done or said before, I would now try to do.
C. I would enjoy life more. I think that I would begin to understand how blind Bartimaeus must have felt when at last he could see. Only for me I would be looking around at scenes and faces, realizing that some of them I would be seeing for the very last time.
God intends for us to enjoy life. "Finally my brethren, rejoice in the Lord! Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say again: Rejoice." (Philippians 3:1; 4:4)
II. I WOULD DO MY BEST TO MAKE EVERYTHING RIGHT BETWEEN ME & OTHERS
A. Again, "If I had but one year to live" I would do my best to make everything right between me & others. I would try to straighten out any problems between us.
Jesus said, "First be reconciled to your brother." (Matthew 5:24) With one year to live I don't need any enemies! So no longer would pride keep me from saying, "I'm sorry. Will you forgive me?"
Furthermore, I would hold no grudges. I would wipe my grudge board clean because I want God to forgive me, & I know that God says that He will forgive me in exactly the same way that I forgive others.