June 23, 2017
Living Like There's No Tomorrow
By Skip Heitzig
When I was a little kid, I had a teacher in school who I thought was awesome—until she announced her age to our class one day. "It's my birthday," she said, "and I'm twenty-five years old." I remember thinking, Twenty-five? That's old! She doesn't have many tomorrows left. I, on the other hand, thought I had an infinite number of tomorrows left. And then there were my parents, who seemed even older to me. I thought for sure they couldn't have many tomorrows left—they'd already used up most of them.
The truth is that one day you will have no more tomorrows left. That's just a fact of life. So what can you do? Whether you have one tomorrow or thousands of tomorrows left, how should you live as a believer in Jesus Christ? In 1 Peter 4:7-11, the apostle Peter highlighted three things we should do: pray harder, love deeper, and serve smarter.
First, pray harder. "But the end of all things is at hand," Peter wrote in verse 7. "Therefore be serious and watchful in your prayers." Now, I've noticed we're not particularly fond of sermons about prayer, probably because prayer isn't huge on our priority list. Spiritual entropy and a loss of passion tends to happen over time for the believer; prayer especially can become professional and contained. I've experienced this in my own life. But what Peter seemed to be saying was that as time casts its shadow on the path of your life—as the end gets nearer—what will sustain you more than anything else is a solid prayer life. So as your days get fewer, pray harder.
The second way to live like there's no tomorrow is to love deeper: "And above all things have fervent love for one another, for 'love will cover a multitude of sins.' Be hospitable to one another without grumbling" (vv. 8-9). Wouldn't you agree that love identifies us as belonging to Christ? It's our birthmark. And not just any love, but fervent love. Fervent literally means strenuous. In ancient times, it was used to describe a horse at full gallop or an athlete stretching and straining their muscles to win a race. Restated, that verse could read something like, "When you love people, give it all you've got. Love like you're trying to win the Love Olympics."
There are two types of love Peter talked about: covering love (see v. 8), which forgives and protects rather than exposing or causing humiliation, and recovering love (or hospitality; see v. 9), which shows love to strangers and goes out of its way to refresh others. The first type of love is protective; the second type of love is proactive. What are you doing to practically show these two types of love?
The third way to live like there's no tomorrow is to serve smarter: "As each one has received a gift, minister it to [or serve] one another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God. If anyone speaks, let him speak as the oracles of God. If anyone ministers, let him do it as with the ability which God supplies, that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom belong the glory and the dominion forever and ever. Amen" (vv. 10-11).
Every Christian has a spiritual gift. Some gifts are noticeable and others are not, but all of them are meant to glorify God through the church as a display of His manifold, or multicolored, grace. No gift is too small and no person is too insignificant to be used. Has God given you a gift that you need to use somewhere in the church?
Remember, you're the expression of Jesus Christ by what you say and do. But all you have is today; tomorrow is by no means promised to you. So what will your anthem be? Less for Christ, or more for Christ? It must always be more. To sum it all up: when prayer is fervent, when love is preeminent, and when serving is prominent, then God is glorified, the church is edified, and the world is notified that God is real.
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