If Today Were Your Last Day

Sharon Jaynes General Inspiration, Living Fully 165 Comments

I will sing to the Lord all my life; I will sing praise to my God as long as I live,” (Psalm 104:33 NIV).

What would you do today if you knew you only had a few months to live?

When I was newly married, I attended a social club meeting of women whose husbands shared the same profession. There was nothing wrong with the gathering. The food was good. Smiles were warm. Conversations were light. But I walked away feeling as though I’d wasted a precious gift—a morning of my life.

The next month I opted not to attend. Instead, I went to a nursery to pick out some flowers to plant in my garden. While musing among the impatiens and begonias, I spotted Carol, a woman whose husband was also in the same profession as mine. Two little girls followed after her as she carefully chose blue, pink, and yellow perennials that would bloom year after year. Carol had cancer and had been given only a few months to live.

Suddenly God spoke to my heart. Sharon, if you knew you had only a few months to live, would you be at the social club meeting or buying flowers with your children? How would you spend your day?

It was a poignant moment as I was reminded of the brevity of life. We never know how much or how little time we have on this earth. I resolved at that moment to spend each day as if it were my last – to make each day count.

Even today I think of the flowers still blooming in Carol’s yard year after year. My hope and prayer is that the seeds I plant along life’s journey will continue to bloom years after I’m gone.

So let’s go back to my original question: What would you do today if you knew you only had a few months to live?

Let’s Pray

Dear God, thank You for the gift of this day. Help me to live today and every day as if it could be my last. Help me to make each moment count. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

What Do You Think?

I wonder how you answered that question. I’m still pondering it myself.

Is there anything that you have longed to do but have been putting off? Writing a friend a letter? Planting a rose garden? Calling an elderly relative? Sharing the gospel with someone? Taking a Bible class.

Leave a comment and tell me in one word what this post stirred in your heart.

Want More?

Do you love a good story? I do! Stories tug at the heart and open the eyes to the truths of Scripture in a way only God can do. I have complied 100 of my favorite stories and devotions into one book titled, Listening to God Day-by-Day. It is the perfect book for a quick pick-me-up before you start your busy day or a sweet dreams closure before you turn off the bedside lamp at night. And here’s some good news, this book is specially priced for the month of June. Get one for yourself, and we’ll include another free for you to share. It won’t show up on your receipt, but we’ll make sure it is included in your package.

Comments 165

  1. Sharon, not a coincendence as I received your email today. I usually don’t receive them everyday but today’s came right on time. I have a co-worker who was diagnosed and is going through treatment of stage 4 liver cancer. She has been going through treatments for 3 months now and has never felt sick, just can’t eat certain foods and has been blessed as her cancer markers are starting to shrink! she is going through a very sad time right now thinking about the future. Please pray for me that I may know the right words to say to her and to let her know that God loves her and wants her to depend on Him for everything…help me to share without being a FORCEFUL OBNOXIOUS Christian…lol. She did start going to church when all this happened but is also relying on blessings from other sources, medals, scapulars, etc…she needs to know that it is JESUS she needs to rely upon! Please pray that her eyes will be opened and she will live the life He has promised for her…

    1. Hi…Even though you asked Sharon to pray so that God will give you the right words and encouragement so as to help your co-worker spiritually, I sill care enough to pray also. Cancer is a terrible disease. But it’s just a name. All dreadful, life-threatening diseases are just names. There’s a name above every name. His Name is Jesus.

      Here’s my prayer- Dear God in Heaven, we love you with all our heart, mind, and soul. We are dependent upon you for your continuous blessings in our lives. We need You like the very air we breathe. You are our Life for we are completely nought without You. We need You God more and more each and every day. Please heal our sicknesses and illnesses; mend our broken-hearts; forgive us of our sins; protect us; love us; cherish us; guide our foot steps; and please let us humbly reverence ourselves before You, for “You are God, Holy, and Righteous”. God we feel Your very presence. Please give us strength, knowledge, wisdom, and understanding to help each other find their way to You. God we get scared hearing and seeing all the terrible things happening across the world. But Jesus encouraged us to be of good courage, and that He’ll be with us always , even to the end of the world. It’s no doubt that Jesus’ second coming is near, and that we’re living in earth’s last days. Help us to be prepare to welcome Christ, and to live our lives fully, all to Your glory, as if it were our last. We need You. We love You. And we’ll serve you for all eternity. We long for great peace and sweet rest. We long for You. Jesus warned us that we should be observant, that when we see all the things coming to pass, that He said would happen in the last days, we should bear it in mind that His coming is near. Again, please help us to be thoroughly prepared, oh God in Heaven! Please hear and answer our prayers and please rescue us-save us. Please bless us, Your people who truly adore You. Thank You for fellow Christians who reach out to us in all ways, using various mediums. Please show mercy and compassion. I know You care. I know You hear. I know that You know everything. And we love You. You are God and God alone; God of the Heavens and the earth, and of everything, living and non-living, visible and invisible, great and small! You are God over all! Thank You for listening to the cry of our hearts for tear is a language that You deeply understand. Please let viewers see this and read this and meditate meaningfully on this, as I meaningfully wrote it from my heart to You. Please rest, remain, and abide in our heart, mind, and soul. In Jesus’ precious and most Holy Name I pray. Amen!

  2. BE………Intentional………
    or Live…….Full
    or No…….Regrets
    or No WASTE

    hard….to say…..one word….. but if I did……LOVE!!!!!!

    BTW….Sharon……love you…..and your God given……and written….inspirations…..

  3. Hey Sharon
    I was at the retreat at Sandy Cove with the Calvary ladies. If today were my last day on the earth I would have to ask myself what did I do to glorify my Heavenly Father today. Who did I share his gospel with how dilgently did I pray for my children what did I do that really mattered. I think today world have been lived quite differently if I knew it would be my last.

    Sharon, thank you for sharing your thoughts. You continue to bless my life and glorify our Father God.

    God bless you.
    Aliu

  4. Thirty years ago, on a day about this time of year, I was scheduled to go to a hiking park that also featured a rustic “lodge.” Not a hiker, I intended to spend most of the day at the lodge while others in the group hiked. I woke up in the middle of the night with the one question on my mind – “What would you want to do if you knew this was your last day of life?”

    That led me on a 24 hour adventure I have never forgotten. I went with my friends to the park, but instead of reading a novel or people watching, I spent the day with God. I lived more fully that day than I have lived any other day of my life. When I went to bed that night, my last thought was, “Thanks for today, God. If I never wake up tomorrow, I will always be glad I had today.”

  5. Gifts ~ After many years of being too busy to use my artistic talents in painting, at 59, I finally rented a small studio room in which to focus on God’s gifts. It takes some time away from my family, but instead of feeling guilty about that, I pray that using God’s gift the best that I can, it will bless all of my grand children in a different way other than sitting on the back porch and baking cookies for them…..pray I have time for both 🙂 ~L

  6. Thankful that four years ago God spared my life! You definitely look at the world around you differently when you’ve been placed in that situation!

  7. Love……of so many things! Love of my relationship with the Savior, loving times with my wonderful husband who has shared 32 years with me, love of family (3 precious granddaughters), love of life, love of being with good friends and sharing fun times, love of my home where I grew up and now live relishing in childhood memories, and so many more LOVES that I can’t list them all.

  8. I would like our daughters marriage to be made whole and for her husband to return to her and our 3 grandchildren-and for him to stop drinking- and for our daughter to not have a boyfriend- we are so very hurt inside-

  9. I would like our daughters marriage to be made whole for our 3 grandchildren and for him to stop drinking and for our daighters boyfriend to leave- we are so very hurt inside

  10. Sorry it’s not one word but we found out last week my mother in law does only have a few months to live. Although she is not fit enough to be able to do anything differently, it has made me re-evaluate priorities again for my faith, family, church and friends. Each day is a blessing and a chance to make a memory to carry forward for the tough times

  11. I would spend everyday with my son,share much as possible of everything I know with him .let him know how much I love him

  12. It makes me frustrated in a way. I don’t know how to balance what I really would do if I only had a few months with what I have to do to take care of my family. If I only had a few months I would not spend another day behind a computer screen for 8 hours surrounded by people who really don’t care about me and don’t share the same values in most cases. There is so much more to life….but how do you get there and still balance financial obligations and that sort of thing? There are so many better things I could be doing with my time and to serve God but I just don’t know how to get the point of being able to do that. I do look forward to seeing what God has in the works for me in the future, but waiting is the hard part!

  13. Call my 101 year old Gram. Since losing my Dad recently and unexpectedly I feel so much sadness and I just want her to know how much I love her….but, I just do not know what else to say as I know her sadness of losing her son.

    1. Susan,
      You don’t have to say anything other than that you love her. That’s probably all she wants and needs to hear! So sorry for your loss.

  14. REALITY!!! It is really hard to just come up with one word. just reading this devotion alone brought me back to reality…

  15. Reality.

    Each day is a gift. We are not sure if tomorrow will come. Take time to cherish what is important and ke t go of anger and pride.

  16. Write

    I’ve been struggling with the desire to write letters, and journal to my children. I need to just do it. Make sure they have my handwriting, letters to talk to them when I am not here. thank you for stirring my heart!

  17. CONFLICT!
    I would love to plant flowers and write letters to loved ones. Unfortunately the obligations of life require me to work, grocery shop, and do laundry. If I really had little time to live I would not worry about the house cleaning. But since I have to continue living in my house I need to continue cleaning it.

    Life requires some balance….and thinking about just today and tomorrow skews our view. We need to live today the way God calls us to….and plan and prepare properly for tomorrow and next month. If we live only for today, even doing great godly things, and don’t give a thought for next week….we aren’t really living for God. Our lives would implode.

  18. I’ve always wanted to start a prayer journal. Its one of those things I think about but never get around to doing.

  19. HAPPINESS!

    Too often I am ‘zombie-mode’ throughout the week, just living for the weekend. In the past couple weeks I have made a HUGE effort to change that. The only mantra that gets me by is “live each day as your last.” It immediately helps me prioritize the day’s tasks and keep a smile on my face. Thanks for a wonderful message Sharon 🙂

  20. In my mind it means to value our lives and thank God for all the small things that we take for granted. Like walking and talking. Hugging someone. Just be grateful for every thing. You do not know when it will be our last time to breath our last breathe

  21. Devotion.
    It’s funny that todays devotion is on this very topic. A two years back I had three dreams all with the same topic, I was going to go home when I was 47, I turn 47 this July. Even though those dreams seemed foreboding I found peace in them. I have shared the dreams with first my husband and then a few of my sisters at church who are like my children but also dear sister/friends. They found discomfort in them and were angry. I had to chuckle at their response. I knew they loved me far more than I believed any one person could love me, they in turn told me that” I will be angry with you for a while but I know your with the Lord IF this does happen” Though time has gone by I still find myself doing the same thing I was, I cherish my husband and children and try my very best to give those whom I come in contact with love and devotion to their lives. I almost lost my dear husband Bob five times to heart attacks, I still have him and I am so grateful that God has given me the precious gift of living more years by his side. The sisters at my church love to go on outings shopping and out to eat and though I am always prodded to go with them, I try to gently let them down that I will stay by my husbands side for I know that is where I find my heart. IF I can have but one more moment with him I will gladly take it. They know I love them and they try to understand, but really until you have that circumstance slap you in the face it can not be understand to the fullest impact. They go and I stay and enjoy my husband. I try to reach each person with a hug and encouragement as that is what I love to do, I am told I mother everyone, I can not help but mother them as it is just who I am for this passing time I am here. I wish to serve though at times I do find I fail more oft than I wish to, I will try my best to do what I know the Lord would have me to. So I stay the course and try to listen to the Holy Spirit leading me, and wait till I graduate to Heaven. Now I do not know if I will pass this year, if I do I know my family and friends will miss me and go through mourning but I hope that I have left them a part of me to remember that God comes first, keep the joy and serve. We must serve first, love with all we got and reach those who are lost, downcast and lonely. If I do not pass this year I will keep the course and try to be better today than I was yesterday. I do not want to waste my gift of life and so I will try to do better to reach more but not get so BUSY that I miss His plan for my life till my homecoming.

  22. I have to admit that I cannot come up with a positive word to put here. You see Sharon, I have been wanting to die for years and years. I think God why did you take so and so and leave me here. At least they had something to live for – me nothing but suffering and loneliness. I have had over 50 surgeries beginning at age 12, diagnosed with Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis (which is a very painful degenerative process for which there is no cure) and then back in 2005, I fell asleep at the wheel and hit a tree head on losing my right leg above the knee! So now I live life out of a wheelchair – not what I call living!

    All I have known is suffering all my life. I cannot remember what it is like to not be in severe pain – both physically and emotionally. All I want is the pain to stop. The only person I have to blame for losing my leg is myself! A stupid mistake that had life-altering and permanent consequences!! Everytime I throw the covers back each morning and look down at my leg that is not there, it is a constant reminder of my screw-up! Everytime I do anything since I am in a wheelchair takes great effort and again a constant reminder!

    I know that in this life, I will always have pain and suffering! Who wants to live like that??? I don’t that is for sure, but I have no way to change that! Why would I want to live???

    1. Suzanne. I cannot say I know what it is like to have that constant physical pain but I can say I am going to pray for you. I have had much mental suffering in my life and have thought often of taking my life because I just thought it was better to join God in heaven than suffer here on earth. My daughter is the only thing that saved me. Her love for me keeps me grounded. I know I will join Jesus Christ one day but for now I have to find strength in His word and keep living. I am sure my situation doesn’t anywhere compare to yours. I just pray that you find some peace in God. and I pray that there you have family or friends that you can lean on.

  23. I hate to say it but truthfully, fear would be my one word. I say fear because it got me to thinking about different aspects of my life and asking myself some hard questions. Am I living for God? If I died tomorrow would God be happy with all that I have done. Now I try to live a life He would be proud of but we all fall short of the Glory of God. I know I try my best but I still make mistakes and I pray everyday for forgiveness. My friends and family might see me as good person, a just and fair person. Someone to look up to but there are things I can do much better. I spend a lot of time away from home for business so that time away could be spent getting closer to God. I can spend more time spreading HIs word. I can spend more time reading HIs word.

    I have done a great deal in my life with only a very very few regrets. But am I ready to join Him. I believe I am. Your story has inspired me to live better. Live more for Him and not myself. I have to answer my questions and I have to work harder to make sure I believe in the answers. Especially if I only have a few months to live. You just never know.

  24. What timing! I received this email the morning after I lost my nephew! He was young and full of life, had just turned 21 yrs old two weeks prior his tragic death. Some know their days are short, but many like Caleb step off into eternity likes it is stepping into the next room.
    thank you for this reminder to make every day, every moment count!

  25. My friend and sister-in-Christ is Helen Myers. She was my breath when I felt as though I was drowning in life’s ocean. In a matter of one year, my marriage was in trouble, we buried a child and lost our home. She opened her home to me and my family when we had nowhere to go, when not even family would take us in. She made me apart of her large family of children and grandchildren and always made me feel as family . I love her dearly and thank God for placing a God- fearing, God-loving woman. I know God will continue to bless her richly! To God be the Glory for the GREAT things He is doing!

  26. THanks for the reminder that Jesus is my oxygen source! He has sent many wonderful girlfriends to be my breathe buddys, Sheri, Cecilia, Stephanie, Deb, and sisters Karen and Audrey. My son is always there for me too!
    Thanks for sharing your heart with us!

  27. Thank you Sharon for this beautiful enlightening Word. This is just what I needed today. I felt like I was drowning and this has been my breath. Thank you.

  28. Love your messages they speak volumes of love to my heart.. For so many years I have enjoyed the fellowship of friends and family who attend different churches and may have worshipped a little differently but the more time I spend with them the more I believe “we are all one in Christ” Praise God..

  29. One word would not do – after losing the love of my life 2 years, 2 months, and 21 days ago I have learned to trust more in the LORD for all my days – and be ever so ready to go and be with Jesus and my sweet loving Bill anytime HE wants me to go.
    We all could learn from each other from all that has been written here – to love one another and be there for each other as much as we can.
    Blessings to all as we all long for HEAVEN

  30. Today I read this again and it takes me back to a friend that I had that had cancer. I miss her and I remember how she spend her last days and months. She spent them with her two kids and with her husband. I love that she give her all to her family in those last days. I still see her kid every once in awhile. This year her daughter graduates with my daughter and I will miss see her their at the graduation. Especially when we talk about this day! She alway wanted to see her daughter play ball for our University of New Mexico. My heart brakes, but my hope is that her daughter makes unto the team. I know that God is with her kids today and will alway be.

    cindy

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