What would you do, if you knew that today was your last day on earth? It’s the proverbial old question that can be answered in so many different ways. A lot of people will probably choose to run up all their credit cards, leaving the debt to be paid off by the heirs. Still others would want to do all type of earthly pleasures; not necessarily sinning, although it may border on sin, but doing things that they haven’t done since before today – sky diving or seeing the bottom of the ocean floor or wrestling with wild animals comes to mind. In other words, living like there is no tomorrow. So I return to the original question - what would you do if you knew that today was your last day on earth?
I was in the hospital when I woke up in the midst of a storm; a panic storm. Something dreadful would happen to me by the end of the day, I just knew it. Like bones aching when the temperature changes and you’ll know that a storm’s a comin’ or animals heading to higher ground in the anticipation of a flood. I knew that this would be my last day on earth and all I knew at that moment when the realization set in, was that I wanted was to spend it with loved ones. I also wanted to put things in order, sort of wrap up final thoughts and deeds as it were. But I was trapped in a hospital bed and I really couldn’t get free and tell people about the gospel that can save us.
I always had an idea of what my purpose was on this earth and now that I was on my deathbed, or so I thought, I was cognizant of the fact that I didn’t live it to the best of my ability. I was caught up in what I did, not with who I am. I was worried that my deeds weren’t good enough to please my Father in Heaven. Then the thought hit me – “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith, and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God - not by works, so that no one can boast.*”
I believe that I am saved through the sacrifice that Jesus did on the cross and it was good enough to please the Father. I also believe that we have been brought back into a right relationship with the Father and we are sealed with Him because of the works that Jesus did on the cross. So why am I worrying about my measly attempts of good deeds for salvation? Could it be that I may insult the one who truly loves me as I am?
It is my opinion, but I think that the most terrifying statement in the Bible is this – “Many will say to me on that day, 'Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?' Then I will tell them plainly, 'I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!'*”
If we are doing things to please our Lord merely to get power from His name, I think we are missing the boat and we are in danger of soiling His good name. However, if we listen to the words of the Holy Spirit and obey them, great things will happen; mostly, the promise of salvation from the Father will go out to the recipient (and we take joy in that because we are the vessels He uses to do His work.) There is cause for great celebration because our family just grew.
By getting caught up in works, we focus our thoughts on us and we can’t see others in desperate need of saving, due to the plank in our own eye. That’s it! We become judgmental and we are more apt to condemn someone who the Lord is trying to save. In other words, we’re not presenting His gospel; we’re presenting ours. We’re trying to get the glory at Christ’s expense when it should be Jesus that gets the glory for the things He has done for our benefit. I mean, when you think about it, one player may do an incredible act to win the game, but it is the whole team that celebrates the win. So why not just rejoice in the gift of salvation and stop worrying about doing great things by our own power or borrowed power as it were?
I had a number of things that happened to me on that dreadful day. Blood chemicals were out of balance, which brought on the attack. I had never had a panic attack before and I hope I will never have another.
But a positive thing came out of that day - a better way to present the gospel of peace, the gospel that can save us. I can place His gospel on the front door of someone’s heart and walk away knowing that I did what I was told to do. My legacy is not how many people get saved through my testimony or deeds of good faith, but that I was obedient to the Spirit.
*Scripture References Eph. 2:8-9 and Matt. 7:22-23, respectfully