Living Until You Die
I recently participated in a “Celebration of life” service for a friend. He loved golf, and he died just after he had hit probably his best drive ever. Those playing with him said he watched the ball, and then simply fell over died. You could say “he knew how to die,” but the reality was that he knew how to live. He lived his life fully right up to the moment of his death.
I remember hearing a philosopher who said that one of the great tragedies of our lives today is that so many of us die before we die. By that he meant, we slow down, we give up what is important to us, and then seemingly seem to sit back and just wait to die. People like that die before they are dead. My friend did not fit that category–he lived until he died.
Of course, not everyone gets to live out his or her days as this man did. I remember years ago, when I was a young pastor, that we had two members of our congregation who were suffering from terminal cancer at the same time. They were in different hospices and each lingered for several months. Both were devout believers They both had shared the same faith in Christ throughout their adult lives. They each had been leaders in our church. They both had a great testimony up until they were diagnosed with the cancer.
One was a lady and she lived right up to when she died. She had a contagious spirit that encouraged everyone who visited her and took care of her. She infected everyone with her joy of being alive as she physically was dying.
The other was a very successful business man of about the same age. When cancer struck him, he simply gave up. He received treatment, but he felt it was all hopeless. And his attitude was also contagious. No one on the church staff wanted to visit him in hospice. They always left feeling discouraged. The staff took good care of him, but no one really was personally involved with him. He really died the day he was diagnosed. He died before he was dead.
You don’t have to die on the golf course to live until you die. And you don’t have to be diagnosed with cancer to die before you are dead. You see, what my friend taught all of us, and what the philosopher was trying to say is, that it is a choice. And it is an attitude! Make certain you don’t die before you are dead!
Question: Do you know anybody who has lived out this maxim–they lived until they died?