If you knew this were the very last month of your life, how would you live it? What would your regrets be?
Here are the regrets that surfaced over and over in the lives of the dying:
1. I wish I'd had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.
2. I wish I didn't work so hard.
- Every male patient had this regret.
3. I wish I'd had the courage to express my feelings.
4. I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends.
5. I wish that I had let myself be happier.
If you're thinking these are secular, well, you may have a point. But stop and look at these regrets from a practical perspective. No doubt many Christians would have these same regrets.
Many Christians live their lives fearing what people think (#1 & 3) instead of making sure the heart is in tune with God.
Working so hard (#2) that time with family is neglected? I've seen that more times than I'd like to count.
Keeping in touch with friends (#4) seems to be easier in the day and age of internet, facebook, cell phones, and email, but far too often, corresponding with those we love goes neglected as we are consumed with our "to do lists."
Happiness (#5)...some Christians are so filled with complaints that the joy that is supposed to constantly fill their faces is only seen on rare occasions.
No matter how long we have left on this earth, we can make our life count. A huge part of making our lives count is investing in the lives of those we love--spending time with them, having fun, talking, praying together, listening, giving, writing notes of encouragement, taking a few minutes to make a phone call... (I'm not mentioning "work" here because since work is a major part of our existence, we don't seem to struggle working together!)
If you are in full-time ministry, you are not exempt. Please don't let your vocation get you sidetracked from the ministry to your family. Your acts of love towards your children and relatives will have an eternal impact on their lives and will speak volumes to your congregation about what love really looks like.
May our lives be filled with joy and love, overflowing with Christ-likeness. Then we will truly have no regrets when that last day comes.