Summary: Sermon 1 in a 6 part series based on Kerry & Chris Shook's "One Month To Live."
Living the Dash, James 3:13-18
Today we begin a 6 part journey based off of Kerry & Chris Shook’s book entitled “One Month to Live.” The book and this sermon series ask the question, “What if you knew for sure that you have just 30 days left to live? How would live out that one month? What things would you do? What would matter enough to focus on and what would suddenly become unimportant? What would consume those 30 days and what would be discarded?
The part of this that is a challenge for us is that the next month is not just an academic exercise in seeing what clutter we would remove in our life and what meaningful things we would focus on: I want to challenge you to, for the next 30 days and beyond, adopt a one month to live outlook on life.
If I had one month to live, surely it might open my eyes up to seeing my blessings as blessings, rather than bearing them like burdens. Perhaps I would make the phone call that I had put off for so many years. Perhaps I would ask forgiveness for a wrong that I had committed. In my personal life and in the pastoral ministry I have seen people call others to their bedside as they neared the end of this life.
One instance comes to mind when the person dying called in many that they had wronged in this life. The dying person made tremendous confessions, ask forgiveness, and attempted to right many wrongs. This may sound noble, but is it? Is it noble to live for years with bitterness, regret, disappointment, pain, sin, and then, when it is in fact the most convenient, unload those burdens upon those who will be left behind as we pass into the next life? Is it noble to make it right when there shall be no responsibility or burden of living rightly after that?
At the end of our lives we often see things with increased clarity. I am convinced that it is because at the end all of our false pretense is stripped away. Now we have nothing to shield us from being honest with self, with others, or with God.
For the next month I want to invite you to commit within yourself to living life as though it were your last. Deeply invest into the material from these sermons, which will be based largely on the “One Month to Live” book. If you are following along with a book on your own or in a small group, do the same.
We have an opportunity in front of us to grow deeply as individuals and widely as a church. Join me in this journey. The sermons will be intentionally concise and intensely focused on one central idea. I will be preparing these sermons in a significantly different fashion than I normally do; these being topical sermons and less exegetical. (Biblical principles for application more than Bible exposition)
My deepest desire is the Holy Spirit will use these sermons, your reading, and the small groups of the Church to affect spiritual growth in all of us.
We don’t know what tomorrow will bring. Quoting Alan Sachs, the author writes “Death is more universal than life. Everyone dies but not everyone lives.” Harold Kushner once wrote, “I am convinced that it is not the fear of death, of our lives ending, that haunts our sleep so much as the fear … that as far as the world is concerned, we might as well never have lived.”
Indeed, our time on this earth is limited. No matter how uncomfortable it is for you or I, there is one universal principal in this life; it will end for us all. The question is not “how do I avoid death.”
Rather, it is “how do I avoid not having lived.” The reality of our own mortality, though, should not paralyze us but fuel us. Why is life short? It is short so that it has immediate meaning. My life and yours is happening right now, this second!
For a good amount of my life I lived as though my life had not yet started. When I was a child I remember thinking how great it would be when I got bigger.
When I got bigger I remember thinking how wonderful it would be when I could get out on my own and make my life what I wanted it to be.
As a young adult I remember thinking how great my life would be when I graduated college and accomplished my dreams. Then one day it occurred to me that I was always looking off to the future and not really living for today.
It occurred to me that my life is happening right now, not some day!