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By Estes Dewayne Williams

The apostle Paul wrote” 1Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God—this is your spiritual act of worship. 2Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.  3For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the measure of faith God has given you. 4Just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, 5so in Christ we who are many form one body, and each member belongs to all the others.” Romans 12:1-5 (NIV)

Paul says we are one church with many members and different functions. Just as a body cannot stand if the right leg pulls against the left arm, so the church cannot stand if its members do not stand in unity and speak with the same voice. At the start of each year we have an opportunity for a fresh start. Alfred Lord Tennyson wrote in the poem “Ring Out, Wild Bells”


Ring out the old, ring in the new,

Ring, happy bells, across the snow:

The year is going, let him go;

Ring out the false, ring in the true.

 

This brings me to an important question. If someone told you that you had less than 30 days to live, how would you live out those days? 

Ellen White said 

Happiness is the result of holiness and conformity to the will of God. Those who would be saints in heaven must first be saints upon the earth; for when we leave this earth, we shall take our character with us, and this will be simply taking with us some of the elements of heaven imparted to us through the righteousness of Christ.
--Review and Herald, Aug. 19, 1890.  {Selected Messages Book 3 Page 191.1} 

I will add another thing we will take will be our relationships-our relationship with God and each other. 
Our character helps us to cultivate or develop our relationships.

Kerry and Chris Shook, of the Fellowship of the Woodlands, in the book “One Month to Live” page 6 made the following observation.

One of the awesome responsibilities-and opportunities-of ministry is that we have been privileged to walk beside people who know that their time on earth is short. No doubt, some people do struggle terribly and become inconsolable. But the vast majority face their final days with increased joy and become radiantly alive!

Most of them make radical changes as a result of their awareness of their terminal conditions. They take license to say what they really feel and do what they really want. They ask for forgiveness and forgive others. They no longer think only of themselves but reach out to those they love and let them know how much they mean. They take risks they would never have taken before and allow themselves to lay worry aside and gratefully accept each new day. They seem to gain a new clarity about their priorities, like their relationship with God and leaving legacies that will endure.”

Simple put, they started living the moment they started dying.

Who needs to hear you say the words “I love you”.

Who needs to hear you say the words “Will you forgive me?”

Who would love to hear you say “I forgive you”.

We all should live out our lives as though we were dying. Not like the quarry-slave mentioned in William Cullen Bryant’s Thanatopsis, but truly like the ones mentioned in the Week of Prayer reading in Accepted in the Beloved, rested and assured of their final calling. 

Berean, we are less than 30 days away from the start of our evangelistic effort. Take some risks. Ask for forgiveness. Forgive others. Tell someone you love them. Tell others of the wonderful saving power of Jesus Christ each day. Start inviting them to the meeting. Live out the remainder of your life like you only have 30 days to live with a new sense of purpose and clarity.

Remember to build a bridge of hope in everyone we meet and know. Why, you ask? Because, our actions will follow our beliefs. Then the whole world really will know that we are Christians by our love.