“What If…” File #12: What If You Had One More Day to Live

by Tad Lindley

What if you had only one more day to live? How would you spend that day? What would be most important to you in that final 24 hours? Would you sleep in, or would you get up early? What would you eat, or would you skip food altogether? Who would you visit in person and who would you simply telephone?

The rich man’s last day

Jesus told about the life of a man who lived very well by the world’s standards. He ate good food and he wore fancy clothes, but he neglected the things that were more important. He lived a life of pride, idleness, and fullness of bread, and he failed to strengthen the hand of the needy (see Ezekiel 16:49). “There was a certain rich man who was clothed in purple and fine linen and [a]fared sumptuously every day. But there was a certain beggar named Lazarus, full of sores, who was laid at his gate, desiring to be fed with [b]the crumbs which fell from the rich man’s table. Moreover the dogs came and licked his sores. So it was that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels to Abraham’s bosom. The rich man also died and was buried.And being in torments in Hades, he lifted up his eyes and saw Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom. (Luke 16:19-23)

What if we could build a bridge?

Jesus continued: “Then he cried and said, ‘Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus that he may dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame.’ But Abraham said, ‘Son, remember that in your lifetime you received your good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things; but now he is comforted and you are tormented. And besides all this, between us and you there is a great gulf fixed, so that those who want to pass from here to you cannot, nor can those from there pass to us.’ (Luke 16:24-26) The rich man was begging for a single drop of water, and yet Abraham informed him that there was a great chasm between salvation and hell, and that nobody can cross it, but what if they could?

Bring a man back from hell

What if we could bring a man or a woman back from hell and give them one more day alive? Where do you think they would go? It wouldn’t be to the bootlegger or the bingo parlor. It wouldn’t be to the card game or the shooting gallery. I can guarantee that after they got a drink of water, they would begin to repent of their sin. They would be calling all over town or getting on the VHF trying to find somebody to baptize them in Jesus’ name for the remission of sin. Then they would be crying out to God until he baptized them with the Holy Ghost. You see, if we could bring someone back from hell and offer them one more day of life, checking Facebook wouldn’t matter, in fact I don’t think they would even go on the internet. Food wouldn’t matter. Entertainment wouldn’t matter. All that would matter is getting right with God so that they never have to go back to Hell. And then they would be desperately pleading with everyone that they can to repent and turn to God before they end up in the same eternity. Unfortunately, however, that will never happen. Whether a tree falls to the south or to the north, in the place where it falls, there it will lie. (Ecclesisates 11:3)

Your day is today

The time to settle your eternity is today. Once the last breath departs from your body, it is too late. God has a calling and a plan for your life. I do not know what all his plans are for you, but I do know this much, it involves salvation. God’s plan for us is to be born of water and of the Spirit (John 3:5). His plan for us is to repent of our sin, to be baptized in Jesus’ name for the remission of sin, and to receive the Holy Ghost.

A word picture of hell

One time I went to the jail here to preach. As we entered the dining hall, through the door that leads to the units where the dorms are, I could hear a man detained by the officers, screaming out, “I want to go to church! I want to go to church!” I recognized the voice. It was heartbreaking and it has haunted me for years, because there will come a time for all of us when life will end and eternity will begin. In Hell I wonder if even this very day they are screaming, “I want to go to church!” and forever tormented by the fact that they chose to reject Jesus when they had the chance. Your day is today.

Tad Lindley is a minister at the United Pentecostal Church in Bethel, Alaska.

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