When you spend time with people who are in the last months and weeks of their life you notice that they gain a unique perspective on life. That which is marginal and unimportant drops away, and two things come into a sharp focus, the spiritual and their closest relationships.
Recently I saw a documentary about an Indian Christian man who survived the attacks on the World Trade Centre. He was trapped with around twenty people in a stairwell in of one of the burning towers. As the group realised that their chances of escape were minimal, people began to ring those closest to them. Parents, spouses, and children were called in order to say goodbye as the spectre of death brought that which is most important in life into perspective.
As the group began to hear the tower begin to lose its structural integrity, the man addressed the other twenty people. In his thick accent he told them that as they were seconds from death, and that if any of them wanted him to pray for them to know Jesus that he was ready. Without exception everyone asked him to pray that they would make their peace with God. As they stood on the precipice between life and death what was most important was crystal clear.
One day as you face your own death, things will also become crystal clear for you.
On your deathbed you will not wish that you spent more time playing computer games.
On your deathbed you will not wish that you had a cooler car.
On your deathbed you will not wish that you had spent more time travelling.
On your deathbed you will not wish that you had downloaded more music.
On your death you will not wish that you had watched more DVD series.
On your deathbed you will not wish that you had spent more time in front of the computer.
On you deathbed you will think of God, eternity, your family and those you are in covenantal relationship with. Why not learn from those who are close to death, those with the clearest view and change your focus, to look at your life differently? The great French novelist Marcel Proust once wrote,
“The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes.”
So why not give up trying to make your life work by seeking new landscapes, by trying to find meaning through consuming externals? The writer Stephen Covey has taught us to begin with the end in mind, so why not learn from those who are closest to death, those who have the clearest perspective and to now begin to give your life completely over to God?
Why not now begin to cultivate and commit to the life-long covenantal relationships that will enrich your life? After you finish reading this article why not turn off your computer, find a blank piece of paper and a pencil and write down five things that you need to do now in order to follow God and to build those covenantal relationships. When you do this you will have a fantastic foundation upon which to build a rewarding and meaningful life.