Recently I chatted with a friend who spends his days working in hospice care. Every day he helps families confront end-of-life issues. He listens a lot, answers questions, and in whatever way he can, tries to bring the love of Christ into those last few days of life.

While we were talking, he matter-of-factly added this statement:

“The way you live is the way you die.”

What does that mean? If you have lived without the Lord or the church, you will probably die that way. And if you have walked with Christ as your Savior, you will want to hear Scripture read and have Christian friends sing to you. You will want someone to pray with you.

We all know of last-second conversions, of loved ones who came to Christ at the very last moment. But we tell those stories precisely because they are rare. It is not commonplace to live a totally self-centered life and then come to Christ just before you shuffle off this mortal coil.

Remember that two thieves died alongside Jesus:

One was saved that none should despair.
One was lost that none should presume.

The heart slowly hardens like concrete. Can a hard heart be shattered and made soft at the last second? Yes, but we can’t count on it. 

With that in mind, should we pray for hardened sinners to come to Christ even at the last moment? Yes, of course we should because conversion at any age is always a miracle of God. And we should rejoice whenever someone comes to Christ no matter when it happens. 

But the greater lesson is for us individually. Once the course of life is set, it becomes harder and harder to change direction as the years roll on. That’s why starting on the road with Christ is all important. Set the course early and when your time comes, the Lord himself will greet you on your dying day. But if we live for ourselves, we will likely die that way. I can think of no sadder way to leave this world than to leave without the Lord. 

The way you live is the way you die. Think about that today. 

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