Because I subscribe to Google Alerts, each day I get an email letting me know whenever my name pops up somewhere on the Internet. Most of the time the references are to my own blog entries, but today was different. I clicked on the alert to see the following headline repeated four times:

Ray Pritchard Obituary Notice

Each headline carried a touching tribute to a "Ray Pritchard" who died recently. From reading the comments, it seemed like he was a loving husband and father who will be missed by his friends. 

It's startling to see your own name on an obituary notice. It does make you stop and think about your own mortality. 

One day that notice will be about me. 

Martin Luther once remarked that we should live with the day of our death placarded before our eyes. As I pondered the obituary notice for another "Ray Pritchard" who might have been me, my mind wandered to Ecclesiastes 9:10,"Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might." We often quote that much of the verse but tend to leave off the last half: "for in the grave, where you are going, there is neither working nor planning nor knowledge nor wisdom."

We all have an appointment with death sooner or later.

I feel strangely free about all of it. I think the real message is, Enjoy life while you have it. Take each day as a gift from God. Find out what really matters and throw yourself into it. Take nothing for granted. Trust God enough that you can risk it all for Christ and his Kingdom. Be kind to those you meet. Get rid of the junk that makes you cranky and uptight. 

Hug your spouse. Play Monopoly with your kids. Tell someone, "I love you." Have a blast while you last.

That's my plan. What's yours?

You can reach the author at ray@keepbelieving.com. Click here to sign up for the free weekly email sermon.