What would you do if you had just one more day to live? It’s a thought-provoking process to consider how you would feel. What would you do? Would you sleep or even blink? Who would you call? Who would you want to see? What would you want to do? What would you want to say to your family? What loose ends have you left out there that, if possible, you would tie and get finished up?
Of course no one of us is going to be afforded the opportunity to live out our days and then hear the Lord say, “This time tomorrow, it’s over,” but when you look at it in reality, each of us could be living out our final day – you, me, folks around you. I got to thinking about one more day when I realized that 2016 is going to provide for us, if we live all the days of that year, with one more day. It is Leap Year, so the short month of the year – February – gets to boast about being filled with 29 rather than 28 days.
While we all will move along through this time process not knowing if today is our final day, one man in the Bible got an indication that his day was real soon. About as close as it gets to someone being told they’ve got another day to live may be in the book of Daniel, chapter five. Belshazzar, the king of the Chaldeans, was a powerful man but he was also a pompous, sickening, arrogant, egotistical, self-centered guy. He threw a party for himself that lasted for days and invited all of the powerful people so they could come and adore him.
In the midst of all the celebration and praise heaped upon him, a strange thing happened. The part of a man’s hand that writes, just a hand or fingers holding some type of instrument, began to write on the wall. You remember those words from the hand writing on the wall – Mene, Mene, Tekel, Upharsin (Dan. 5:25). Shock came over the party and shook the soul of the powerful mob. No one knew the meaning of the words on the wall. Eventually Daniel, who walked with God and was a prophet of God, was brought into the arena and he would give the interpretation of the writing.
One part of the words on the wall meant, “Your days are numbered.” The implication was that Belshazzar was running out of days and although he was not told it was his last day, in fact it was. The words on the wall said in total — judgment is coming to you. Belshazzar had left God out of his life and his kingdom and had spent his life thinking about himself. Now he was down to a short time and he gets a clear revelation from God that his life is about over.
The Scripture says of Belshazzar that after he got the word from Daniel and the message from God, he basically did nothing. In the next-to-last verse of the chapter, Daniel records this, “In that night was Belshazzar the king of the Chaldeans slain” (Dan. 5:30). As you and I stand on the front edge of a new time plane called 2016, we will live out these 366 days one at a time with some critical things we need to keep in mind.
First, there are certainties about each day that you and I need to recognize and relish. The certainty is that this day is a gift from God. It’s not a gift from someone else. It’s not a gift from physicians. It’s not a gift from a friend. It’s a gift from God. Psalm 118:24 says, “This is the day which the Lord hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it.” All the other days you have seen come and go are packaged away and will never be touched again, but this day is a treasure that is almost indescribable. God has given you and me a time frame that is filled with opportunities to express His love, live out His kindness, make decisions, and experience the wonder of His creation and the blessing of serving people around us and being enriched by their lives. Whether you and I have the full privilege of living out the whole package of 366 of these days, grab this one and live it as though it is the biggest and best gift you’ve ever been given.
Secondly, there are uncertainties. I suppose the longer you live, the more you become aware of the fact that you have no clue as to what this day holds. Oh, you’ve got plans, hopes, aspirations, things you intend to do and things that you don’t plan to do, but with the rising of the sun each day everything can change. Incredibly and beyond description, everything can change. Most of the time we think of that being a change to bad things. Not necessarily. There are those serendipitous, God-given, grace-filled moments that come that we didn’t know about nor expect, and all of a sudden we are overwhelmed. It is magnificent to think about those uncertainties.
If on the other hand there are the uncertainties that come that are not particularly wanted or welcomed, we must be ready for that. Maybe it’s a health issue that’s right there before you about which, 24 hours earlier, you never gave a thought. Maybe it’s the loss of a job, a broken relationship, a word spoken that doesn’t fit. Things happen, troubles come, crises meet us more than we want to see them, and we must have a sense of awareness and be prepared. How do you get ready for the uncertainties of life? Well, you begin and end and walk every step with an understanding that God cares for you. Whatever else is going on, God cares for you and whatever it is that may come into your life as an uncertain, shocking experience, God knew about it before His sun rose that morning. Trust Him. Lean on Him. Look to Him. He will not only give you a pathway through, He will walk with you every step of the way.
A final thought for your new year, day by day, is the currencies that you have to spend as you travel. God has not just given us time. The currency that is available to us to use and spend for ourselves is especially for and on others. As you travel in however many days God gives you this coming year, be sure to expend some of the love that God has put in your heart to touch someone else’s life. Say the kind word. Do the good thing. Let Jesus’ light shine through you so the brilliance of it will look like Him and it will be love. Do your best not to horde any of the currency that He’s given you for one day, for you may get in a habit of not doing it then or not letting God use you the next day or next. You get the picture. It’s almost as though God has put in your bank account love, joy, peace, longsuffering, concern, gentleness, and all of the things that Jesus delivers to His people. He wants you to use today.
This may not be your last day, but it can be one of your best days. In the new year, head into the midst of all that God has in store for you. Let Him be praised, and you will be blessed.
The author can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.