WHAT IF THIS YEAR WAS YOUR LAST? (Part Two) …


Jeremiah 28:16 – “Therefore thus says the LORD, ‘Behold, I am about to remove you from the face of the earth. This year you are going to die, because you have counseled rebellion against the LORD.'” NASB

In the last devotional we began consideration of this thought and question. In our discussion, we noted that the Life of Jesus on Earth was abbreviated.  We took note of how the awareness of that brevity and our own mortality could and should inspire us. It should help us to remain focused on the objective and purpose for our lives.  Today it is our desire to progress further and consider another reality regarding the end of our days on earth as individuals.

THERE MUST BE A FULL AUDIT SOMEWHERE, SOME TIME.

I find that truth very prominent in the message of Jesus to those whom He spoke.  He spoke of a day of honor and award. He spoke of that day of final reporting and receiving a final report card when we stand before God.  I want you to consider several things.

Everybody will stand before God. It does not matter who you are or how much you have accomplished in this life everybody will die and everybody will stand before God.  God alone will determine the grade we receive for our life here on earth.  You cannot earn your way into heaven, but you can be slothful and disobedient and keep you out. 

The Bible informs us that all the hidden things will be revealed.  Those things you thought you had successfully hidden from everyone will be exposed before Him.  Every evasion, every defection from honor, every postponement and procrastination will be revealed.  Every quibbling with conviction, every hidden act of dishonesty, every theft, every misused influence will be revealed.  What we are will be revealed. We will all be seen and known as we truly are not what we pretend to be.  It is not what others think we are that will be revealed but what and who we really are.  Our hearts will be on display!  The question is, “Are we living in a manner that welcomes examination?”

WE MUST ALL COME TO TERMS WITH THE REALITY OF OUR BREVITY.

We are commissioned and empowered to make our lives count for something.  Each of us has an assignment or assignments and God never assigns something that He does not also equip and prepare us for.  We have a Mission and a Commission!

I have said to groups of men, “Men, you should always live as though this year and this day was the last you will have on earth.”  If we lived that way, we would be more committed to shaping our character and the character of our children in a godly manner. 

I talked to a businessman about caring for his family and he said, “I have over a million dollars in insurance.”  I allowed him to speak of his financial provisions for his family and the said, “Sir, you have plenty of insurance, but have you given then plenty of assurance?”  Our children are our legacy and we need to leave them a heritage of godliness and train them in the right way so that they can train their offspring rightly.  We cannot leave it to the government, the teachers, the Sunday School teachers, the pastors, or anyone else, we have a responsibility.

I suggest that because this year might be our last, we should “Look Back.”  No, I am not suggesting that we put our hand to the spiritual plow and look back at the old way longingly, but reflectively.  The past is the past and we cannot change it.  The spilled milk cannot be put back in the bottle and the water that has run under the bridge cannot be reclaimed.  But we must never forget that we can utilize every experience to make us better rather than bitter and learn from our experiences, successes, and failures.

I remember a story I was told years ago that resonated powerfully with me.  In the early days of settling the West in America, there was an old immigrant farmer that gave shelter to a man and his nephew who were passing through.  During the night the uncle and nephew had a sharp disagreement.  The nephew packed up and returned to his former home. 

The next day the old man who had given them shelter went to the police and reported that the nephew had killed the uncle and take his money belt that contained thousands of dollars.  The nephew as caught and convicted.  The immigrant farmer sold his land and move to another state.  After 30 years the old farmer returned to the town and confessed that the nephew was innocent and that he had killed the uncle and taken the money.  The burden of guilt had become more than he could bear.  He confessed before the police and judge and died in jail a few days later.

Some are struggling under the heavy load of the baggage of things that should have been confessed long ago and restitution made.  For some, the two-minute warning has sounded and the sand in the hourglass almost emptied to the bottom.  You need to Look Back!

Those things we intended to straighten our need to be addressed.  What a blessed event is the homegoing of one who is prepared!  Blessed is the man or woman that can look back over their lives and say as did Paul in 2 Timothy 4:6-8 – “For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure has come. 7 I have fought the good fight, I have finished the course, I have kept the faith; 8 in the future there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day; and not only to me, but also to all who have loved His appearing.” 

Sadly, some are not ready, and their yesterdays, continually return to torment them with unsettled hearts.  Now is the time!  Today is the day of salvation!  Jesus is waiting to welcome each of us when we come to Him!  If you knew that this year was your last what would you do about your relationship with God?

God bless you as you enjoy this wonderful day in Him!

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