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What to do before you die

November 12th, 2008 Posted in encouragement, family, Pastor's corner, sermons

There is a book that has been very popular, titled, 100 Things to Do Before You Die, written by Dave Freeman. In the book, he offered this counsel:

This life is a short journey . . . How can you make sure you fill it with the most fun and that you visit all the coolest places on earth before you pack those bags for the very last time?

He goes on to detail some ways to “really make life count” by doing things like attending the Academy Awards, and running with the bulls in Pamplona, Spain. Frankly, as I have watched some of the people running from these bulls, I think that ought to be in a book called 100 Things to Do So You Will Be Sure You Die! :)

The sad thing is that Dave Freeman just died at the age of 47, after hitting his head after a fall in his home. He had only accomplished Half of the items on his list.

The one thing to do before you die

But life is not just about visiting the coolest places and having the most fun. There is a place for that, but life is about glorifying God and following His will. That is the one thing we should all be doing.

The Bible tells the story of Jesus visiting the home of Mary and Martha, two of His friends. Martha wanted to make Jesus a gourmet feast and was working slavishly in the kitchen, while Mary was sitting at Jesus’ feet and listening to Him. In frustration, Martha went to Jesus and demanded that He tell her sister to come and assist her.

The fact of the matter is, there is a time for work and there is a time to sit and listen to what God has to say. Mary understood that.

Seeing Martha’s frustration, Jesus said to her, “Martha, dear Martha, you’re fussing far too much and getting yourself worked up over nothing. One thing only is essential, and Mary has chosen it—it’s the main course, and won’t be taken from her” (Luke 10:41-42 MESSAGE).

“Only one thing is essential,” said Jesus. Mary understood that one thing was having time with God. And it also meant to glorify Him with her life.

Now, do we understand that? Because it’s not a matter of if you will die but when. So do what you need to do now, and then you can live with a clear conscience, ready to meet God at the time He appoints, whether it be today or 80 years from now.

My son, Christopher, was walking with and glorifying God when he was called home. I was proud of him then (and I told him so) and I am proud of him now.

13 Responses to “What to do before you die”

  1. jan says:

    I have always feel very blessed and edified when I read your devotions. Yours is the first I click on to read and have introduced it to my friends.

    A belated condolence from me. I listened to your first sermon you gave after Chris’ demise. In your grief, God is still using you.

    God bless you and family and Chris’ as well, abundantly.

  2. Leo says:

    Dear Pastor Greg,
    I thank God for you, your family, and your ministry which encourages me in the post Christian America and the spiritual war we face. In the 80-90′s, I was able to listen to your ministry and several recordings of your Harvest Crusade on the radio on duty when driving to various locations in So. Cal.

    Nearing my 6th decade, I have been trying to put together a bucket list that is God centered for His glory and honor. It is hard because in this list will be worldly rejections, fear, excuses, regrets and missed opportunities but with hope, prayer and the Holy Spirit, a seed may be planted and God’s will may cultivate it. This is joyful and purposeful when I see or hear the someone growing or announcing he is a follower of Christ.

    Thank you again for spreading the Word with encouragement and helping me keep my relationships in focus and knowing the utmost important relationship is the one I have with Jesus Christ.

  3. Shelley says:

    Greg,
    Earlier today, I had a chance to be at the Eastvale satellite to see the service from this mornings sermon. I must admit, you really hit the nail on the head today. We as Christians are never guaranteed a perfect, “free of issues” life.In fact, I have laughed with the feeling that I have an imaginary tattoo across my chest stating, “try me, I like to get hurt.” Of course, this is only meant to be a metaphor for realizing that I seem to get more challenges within one persons life compared to most other people. It has actually kept me very humble and I have learned that laughter is a great cure for those crazy times. I have come to the resolve that I probably won’t live the somewhat normal live as others tend to live here on earth. I am okay with that and it only tends to keep my focus more on the Lord, because I can’t do things on my own or at least for too long without having some unwanted issue. Many times it seems that I get caught within issues because someone else hasn’t done their job correctly. I myself; a self proclaimed work-a-holic, notice this more than most people, yet plug along just the same. I must admit, I feel that if I died today, I would be content just to know that the things in life that I have already done will most certainly not be as exciting as those things in heaven. I am anxious to see my other family members that are already their, but feel that since my life is not done yet, I have many more opportunities to share with others that can see that I am not perfect, but that I can be happy with the things that I have. I know in reality, that time is short for those of us that are Christians as the signs are becoming more clear daily. To you and your family, you about about to receive a new little miracle, Lucy. What a blessing you will have to celebrate this new child. This will be a time for you all to reflect on this past year and to remember the life that Christopher had and the life that he is still giving, even though he is not here. The concept of giving to you a new life, even though he is not physically here is a great blessing.Christopher not only gave you a second granddaughter to charish, he also gave the hope to so many others during this past years crusades that needed his untimely death to remind them that they too can have new hope and life within Christ. (Such as you sermon today, life both spiritually and physically such as Paul.) My prayers are with you and your family during this special week. My family and I will bring a gift to the church office for both families. Much love to all of you in Christ, Shelley Smith and Rosemary Scott (Mom)

  4. The Jacobsen Family says:

    We really miss Christopher and are praying for all of you guys.

  5. Jen says:

    Pastor Greg
    I check your blog regularly and have been so refreshed over these last few months reading your openness. I have and am praying for you and your family. My heart aches for Brittany thinking of her not having her bestfriend, her earthly love next to her in raising and loving those two beautiful girls. My husband and I are best friends. We love eachother very much and we enjoying our journey together and sometimes I have feared that the Lord would call him home before “I” am ready. Death of our earthly bodies is inevitable but where we end up is for us to decide and chose. Since I first heard about Christopher, my thoughts of heaven and dying haven’t seem so far away anymore. And because of that I need to live my life everyday fully devoted to the Lord and making HIm known to everyone I come in contact with. I no longer have “shame” but proudly proclaim who Jesus Christ Was and Is. Thank-you Greg for honesty and heart over these last four months.
    Blessings to you as you continue to do His service,
    Love your sister in Christ,
    Jen

  6. Nikki says:

    Pastor Greg,
    You and your family are in my prayers. I too lost a child. You may have already read an email or two from me. My daughters name is Elexis, she was 15. She went to be with God 6 weeks ago Tuesday.

    I miss her so much. When I feel like I can’t get through the day I refer to your past messages. I love hearing you talk about heaven and how Christopher is there. Perhaps he greeted my daughter since God knew I was going to need your messages to help me through. Thank you for every sermon, I need the encouragement. Anyone who knew Elexis says she was an “angel on earth”. She really was. She had a disease since birth, but it was never expected to take her life, she never complained. I’m so proud of her. I always told her how proud I was for all of her other accomplishments but never that. I hope she knows.

    This message is a good one. I have always valued each day and been thankful. I know what life is about. I am very blessed for that. My daughter left this world knowing I loved her to the depths of my soul..that’s what I would tell her daily. She is so beautiful. If you have time, please send me some words of wisdom, you have no idea how much they help me.

    Thanks again.
    Nikki

  7. Eda says:

    Dear Pastor Greg,

    Thank you for being on the radio and just sharing God’s Truth with me every morning when I get ready for work. I am so blessed by this ministry.

    On one of your blogs about Stephen, the first martyr which encouraged the early church to spread the word, you talked about Christians being in that Christian Bubble. That’s how it used to be for me during my youth years in my large church in Denver.

    When my husband and I married in 2000, I was moved to a large church to a very small church. I felt like God was no where in sight.

    Thank you for the “New Beginning” radio broadcasts. Now I am like a cup overflowing with the Holy Spirit to others and leading in the church.

    Thanks again and God Bless.

    Eda

  8. Alejandra says:

    Dear Pastor Greg,

    I keep praying for you and your family. Is your new grandaughter born yet?. If there’s anything specific that you need prayers for please let me know. Sometimes we think that pastors are like super heroes (or that they have megashields to protect them) and that nothing can harm them or their family. But they go through the same things that all of us go through. I think our pastors need our prayers more than anyone else. So I’ll keep praying for you and your loved ones.
    Thank you for your ministry.

  9. Cathy says:

    Dear Pastor Greg, I had heard you speak years ago and was reintroduced to your ministry this past summer after hearing word through an email about your son entering our Lord’s loving arms. You and your family have been in my thoughts and prayers. My dear Mother also met with the arms of the Lord this past April. She lived a long life but the pain is still the same. I miss her so. I cared for her the last years of her life. I thank the Lord for my parents all the time. My mom became like a child to me as she was so dependent upon me. She tried to tell me her time was near a month before and that she was praying for me to understand. I have been a believer in Christ for quite some time. Many amazing things transpired just before she passed. Hours before helping her into bed, she said; I’m going to be a NEW woman in the morning. She was smiling from ear to ear the night before. I was in tears. But I am so thankful for God’s grace in allowing me to hear this. I look forward to the day when we will fully recognize AND remember each other! :) I’ve been studying quite a bit about heaven the last several years. Somewhere in scripture it says that the Saints who are home at last are to be envied and precious in the eyes of the Lord are the death of His saints. I think of the beautiful picture, as we watch them depart with tears, and what could be happening in glory? Could they be saying, “Oh, look! Here he or she comes!” I appreciate your podcast and pray you will be filled with MUCH joy!

  10. Jorge says:

    Many people have their plans regarding “what to do before you die” but not me i’m 17 and don’t know what to do with my life, but you’re right we were made to glorify God.
    (Knowing God and making him known) I like that!

  11. Katie says:

    Thank you Pastor Greg for the reminder to be a Mary and sit at our Lord’s feet. I let the world decide what I should be doing when all I really want is to be with our Lord. Still praying for your precious family.
    To God be the Glory!

  12. Anne says:

    A lot of people think that “living life” is doing crazy and adventurous things, or going out and partying. Unfortunately that is what media is portraying with advertisements, tv shows, and even more so reality-tv shows. It’s important to live each day living for God and glorifying him.

    Thanks for this blog. I hope more people realize that there is a way to live life to its fullest without trying to kill yourself =) – not to say that skydiving wouldn’t be fun.

  13. Pam says:

    Thank you for this…our 17 year old nephew died in a car accident this past January…and while God has used it amazingly (the pastor couldn’t count the nubmer of people that got saved at his funeral)…the things people say out of ignorance can bring on more pain. To tell me that God took him goes against scripture..my bible says God came that we might have life..abundant life and that the devil came to steal, KILL and destroy. Then to tell his parents there was some unforgiven sin in their life…I am pretty sure that is why Christ died on the cross..for the forgiveness of our sins…And God is lacking nothing in heaven…He doesn’t NEED another angel or flower. People just need to love on the people who have lost someone and let them know if we just need a hug or a good cry you’ll be there! You don’t need to understand or say something profound…just hold our hand and listen to another story about our loved one! (Even though you’ve heard it before!)

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