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Secret #7: Living with the End in Mind

In Your book were all written the days that were ordained for me, when as yet there was not one of them.
–Psalm 139:16

Both of my parents died at a relatively early age. They died within a few years of each other, and they both had almost exactly the same circumstance that led to their deaths. They weren’t feeling well, they went to the doctor, and the doctor decided to do exploratory surgery. During the operation, they found inoperable cancer. The doctor gave them each four months to live, and they died almost to the day the doctor predicted. But they also shared something else that was similar. Both my mom and dad went through a ritual the last few weeks of their lives. They wanted to have a final goodbye to their family members and friends, so they scheduled times to speak to them. Then they had me take them on a road trip to some significant places in their lives. Both my mom and dad had me drive them to their favorite hamburger joint, where we enjoyed one final meal together. They wanted to visit their childhood homes, so we drove there. They even had me drive them to our family cemetery plot, where they would be buried in a few weeks. But at the top of the list of places they wanted to visit were places where they felt like they had made a lasting difference. So my mom had me drive her to the high school where she had invested thirty years in the lives of her students. My dad had me drive him to First Baptist Church of Dallas, where he had joined first, then my mom, and all our family.

I’ve often thought, If I got the news that I only had a few months to live, what people would I want to talk to? What would I say to them? What would I want them to remember? What sites would I visit where I felt like I had made an eternal difference? What about you? If that time were to come for you, who would you want to talk to? Where could you point to and say you made a difference for eternity there? People who want to live an extraordinary life keep one eye on the clock as it winds down to mark their departure date, and they keep the other eye on a calculator determining how to multiply their influence for the kingdom of God. Simply put, significant people live their lives with the end in view.

One of the constant themes in Scripture is that death is inevitable for every one of us. Hebrews 9:27 says, “It is appointed for men to die once and after this comes judgment.” You are going to die. Have you come to grips with that fact? You are not going to live on this earth forever. We are all going to die. Like my parents, you may get advance warning of your death, or it may come as a surprise to you. But it won’t be a surprise to God. Do you know He has written in indelible ink on His calendar the day of your death, and nothing is going to change that? David said in Psalm 139:16, “In Your book were all written the days that were ordained for me, when as yet there was not one of them.” All of your days are already written in God’s book, and every second that passes moves you closer and closer to that date of your departure on God’s calendar. What kind of legacy will you leave when that day comes?


Today’s devotion is excerpted from “Secret #7: Living with the End in Mind” by Dr. Robert Jeffress, 2017.

Scripture taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1960,1962,1963,1968,1971,1972,1973,1975,1977,1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.


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