What Would Your Last Words Be? Go Live Them.
As to my children, you are now to be left fatherless, which I hope will be an inducement to you all to seek a Father who will never fail you. ~Jonathan Edwards, said to his daughter Lucy before his death
Years ago I came across a collection of the last words of death row inmates. I remember scrolling through them in my office, mesmerized and sobered. These men spoke of sorrow and pride. Some apologized and, like the criminal next to Jesus on the cross, appeared to be moments from entering God's rest. Others denied their crimes or tried to be funny.
These were their last words. They could say anything they wanted. It's pretty heavy to read last words.
When death is at our door, all the fog of life clears out. Priorities are carved in marble, no longer debatable. Distractions will not be tolerated. We consider the eternal. Just before we die, we are surprisingly awake.
What do you think your last words would be? What would you tell your loved ones? Would you have any advice for those around you?
I'd definitely have something to say. Something like this:
Go live your life. Trust God. Know your sin is great but the grace of Jesus is bigger. Risk big. Play hard. Work hard and get good at something you love. Do stuff that matters. Love deeply. Create things. Take care of your body. Allow yourself to be inconvenienced in the service of others. Get up early. Read your Bible and pray. Notice God in everything. Speak honestly about what matters. Read a bunch. Don't drink too much because it'll slow you down. Be the person the Lord made you to be, not the person others expect you to be. Remember that eternity starts right now.
There's so much to say and to be honest, writing deathbed words while not on my deathbed is a little hard. But I think I'd say something like that. And I think it's healthy for us to consider what we'd say when we were forced to say what matters.
Too many of us live asleep. We go from place to place looking for distraction or novelty. Then we have a few beers and go to sleep. The big questions of life get muffled by the noise of busyness, which gets fueled by ego or unfair expectations. We can wake up, but we must wake up on purpose.
On my morning run, I noticed my dog Titus perk up as he looked at the top of a tree by the sidewalk. I looked up to see what he was looking at and saw a huge hawk. This thing was scary large - and close! - and its head followed us as we ran by just feet away. It was almost as if he was there to shock me awake. It worked. I hope this exercise of considering your deathbed words will shock you awake like it did me.
What would your dying words be? If your dying self were to speak to your living self, what would you say? Figure that out and you'll have a decent blueprint for living.