If you’ve tuned in to a country radio station recently, chances are you heard Tim McGraw’s “Live Like You Were Dying.”
McGraw’s song follows the story of a man who learns that he doesn’t have long to live, so he decides to pursue life with all the gusto he can muster. He skydives, goes rock climbing, rides a bull and mends broken relationships.
The guy lives like he was dying. Seems ironic, doesn’t it? He finds out he’s dying, so he decides to live. He decides to experience things he hadn’t had time to do before. He becomes the husband and friend he always should have been. He reads the Bible and re-evaluates his life. Toward the end of the chorus, he says, “Some day, I hope you get the chance, to live like you were dyin’.”
Probably most people reading this column don’t have a terminal disease. And if you’re in your late teens or early 20s, you’re probably still in that “I’m-invincible-and-nothing-can-happen-to-me” stage. But the truth is, even if you haven’t received that fateful phone call from your doctor, you’re still dying. Yeah, I know. It might not happen tomorrow, next week or in 20 years. But it will happen.
So, the question is are you living like you were dying? Now let’s be clear. I’m not talking about the “eating and drinking and being merry for tomorrow we die.” And I’m not talking about Prince’s “party like it’s 1999.” I’m talking about living your life in pursuit of what really matters. Not some guy. Not some girl. Not your major. Not a wonderful career and a big house with a white picket fence and 2.5 kids. Because you know what? All those things, as great as they are, won’t last forever. But one thing will: your soul.
Towards the end of the song, McGraw sings, “(live) like tomorrow was a gift, and you got eternity, to think about what you’d do with it.”
Truth is, you will have eternity to think about what you did with your life. To think about what you pursued. To think about what you valued. And to decide whether or not it was worth it. The only way you’ll be able to truthfully say if it was worth it, is if you lived your life for Jesus Christ, focused on what was really important and lived like you were dying.
Rick Wipf is College and Career Fellowship (CCF) pastor at Brookings Wesleyan Church.