Solid 30-day renewal plan

Paul Mastin

4 Stars

June 11, 2012

A couple months ago, I reviewed Kerry and Chris Shook's Love at Last Sight, a book of daily readings designed to help the reader be more intentional about his or her relationships. Before that, they wrote One Month to Live: Thirty Days to a No Regrets Life. The premise, as the title suggests, is that we should live with some urgency, as if we only have a limited time on earth, and make every second count. The resulting book is a decent guide to Christian discipleship, challenging the reader to examine the way he lives and to change his lifestyle to reflect eternal values.

I have a little trouble with the premise. If I learned I had 30 days to live, I sure wouldn't want to spend it at a desk for 8 hours a day, answering the phone. The Shooks challenge the reader to recall the dreams of youth, and, as long as they align with God's dreams for us, to pursue them. The reality is that the vast majority of people for the vast majority of history have to toil and labor to live. Do you think the struggling West Texas farmer and the Chinese assembly line worker and the Andean shepherd are living their dreams? Maybe, but probably not; they work as a necessity. The point, I think, is that all labor has value and can be directed to God as service to him. So it's not your dream? Still, labor as unto God, but if you only have 30 days to live, by all means, quit!

That quibble aside, the overarching theme of One Month to Live is that we should invest our time in what lasts and what matters. Not much in this world is eternal, but two things are for sure. First, God's word. Time spent reading, studying, and contemplating the Bible is time invested in eternity. God's word is eternal, and it can shape our character in lasting ways. Second, people. The impressions we make on people, time spent serving them, praying for them, is time invested in eternity. So we should live our lives in way that maximizes investment in these things that last.

If I were told today that I only had 30 days to live, I would probably focus on those 30 days, quitting my job, doing a bunch of fun stuff I've never done, and visiting with friends and family for a last time. The Shooks want me to have a longer focus. One Month to Live points the reader in an eternal direction and helps bring eternity into focus.