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An interesting exercise used at some team-building sessions is to ask the participants: "If you knew you had only five minutes left to live, how would you spend it?" Well, we are not busy with a team-building exercise here, but think for a moment: Have you ever been in a situation where your life's hourglass was running empty? How did you feel then?

None of us knows how long we are going to live. Maybe a marathon still lies ahead, or maybe the winning post is at the door. Who knows? In any event, I hope it won't be the case with you like it was with the rich man who was married to the young woman. He once compared their marriage to a parking meter: “Every now and then she checks how much time I have left, while I wonder how much money I still need to put in.” More important than the time we have left to live is the way we spend what we have left. Here are two important rules of life:

Life rule number one: Live as you would the last hour of your life.

Life rule number two: Treat others as you would if you were seeing them for the last time.

What would your life look like if you looked at these few minutes as the last you had on earth? What would happen if you suddenly started treating others with respect because you might never set eyes on them again? Remember the following if you take these two rules seriously:

a. God grants life one day at a time only
God grants life only in “one-day-at-a-time” portions. He never guarantees five years of life in advance. No, He grants a ray of sunshine, a drop of rain and a portion of life for the here and the now every time! Right now, whether you are in Kuwait or Toronto, New York or Bloemfontein, you are experiencing your own portion of abundant goodness from heaven. Indeed, you are alive! Therefore, your heart may harbour hope, because God has given the green light that you may live.

Perhaps your life is not very enjoyable at present. Well, you may choose to do something about it. Truly, God grants you a time of grace. He also watches what you do with the borrowed time received from the Father's hand. Do not wait for others to make your life more enjoyable. Do not think that life owes you anything. If you do you will simply sulk and sit it out. No, be brave! Surprise everyone; dare to declare today a day of festivity. Choose the happiness of sharing bread with friends. Choose today to set aside time for celebration with your children and marriage partner (Ecclesiastes 8:15; 9:9). Cancel an unimportant appointment or a boring meeting. Start living, you have only today. Do not waste time. Only if God wills, will you see the sun shine tomorrow. But, it is still a day's journey from the dream of the future. Live life to the full, now.

b. Do the right things now, and have no regrets later
There were times when I stood at someone's deathbed. Do you know that not one of them ever told me that they regretted not having worked a lot harder. No, all of them wished that they had spent more time with the Lord and with their loved ones. A New Zealand friend of mine (good day, Eben!) who was once on an aeroplane when two of its motors failed, recalled that at one stage the captain allowed the passengers to use their cell phones to call their loved ones. Take note, not their brokers, their bankers or even the local undertaker. No, when one's life, here and now, hangs by a thread, one's heart goes out to loved ones. Then one prays. Then love wins!

Life passes by so quickly. Do not let the years granted to you slip through your fingers. Is achieving lots of success but losing the people closest to you worth it? Worst of all: you may lose God because you are too busy to give Him time. That is to lose all! Do the right thing now: turn back to God this minute. He will welcome you with open arms when you arrive at heaven's door in the name of His Son. Also, turn back to your loved ones. You will be their guest of honour.

c. Do a few good deeds
Be good to someone in the name of the Lord at least once today. Do not lay down your head tonight without having touched someone with a tender word or a gesture of love. In Matthew 10:42 the Lord Jesus tells us that God will know when you give one of His lowliest followers a drink of cold water. He notices when you treat the least insignificant of His people with respect. A small gesture of love is noted down in the most important Place in the universe. Make sure that your name also is entered in Heaven's records today!

You have five minutes left ... and perhaps the rest of today! Use it wisely.

Lord, my life is passing by so quickly.

My years on earth dribble away like water.

Too many yesterdays have been wasted;

they slipped through my fingers unused.

Teach me to use my time right,

to live for the here and the now – to the full, for You and for others.

Make me a 'living' blessing to all that cross my way today.

I ask this in the good Name of Jesus.


Stephan Joubert -