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Richard Bach said, “Here is the test to find whether your mission on earth is finished. If you’re alive, it isn’t.”

Each one of us has a mission in life. God has called us to serve Him. We do not know all the details of how events may unfold for us, the joys or sorrows that await us, or how long we have to live out our life. We do know that God has no pleasure in the death of the wicked, that He would have all men to be saved, that those that obey His commandments are beloved to Him, and that He is willing to be merciful to His people and grant eternal life and a glorious kingdom on earth to those He judges worthy. The reward is wonderful if we fulfill our mission faithfully. David exclaims, “Oh how great is thy goodness, which thou hast laid up for them that fear thee!”

So if we are alive and our mission is unfinished, what should we be doing? David tells us in Psalm 146:2, “While I live will I praise the LORD: I will sing praises unto my God while I have any being.” We need to decide to live praising the Lord while, as David explains, we have our being. God has made it very clear what His purpose is with man and the earth. As He told Moses, “As truly as I live, all the earth shall be filled with the glory of the LORD.” We are here to bring glory and honor to God in our lives, and we never get too old or too feeble to do this. Joshua said as an old man, “As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” There is a dear little sister in Rhode Island who is bedfast and needs a breathing machine to give her breath, but she spends her life using that breath to praise God and encourage others. We do not need to be healthy to praise the Lord, but those who are can use the opportunity to apply their God-given strength to bring glory and honor to God. All who still have breath can praise the Lord. David repeats the thought in another psalm: “I will sing unto the LORD as long as I live: I will sing praise to my God while I have my being.”

When we awake in the morning, do we think how can we bring glory and honor to our Lord by what we may say and do? What is really important in our lives? Jesus said that the sin of Sodom was that they ate, they drank, they bought, they sold, they planted and they builded. Evidently that was all they did, because God burnt them all up in the midst of their busy lives serving themselves.

Our lives must be different. Are we using our God-given health and strength to serve the Lord while we can, or are we serving ourselves? We each need to ask ourselves this question, and then to give ourselves an honest answer. Abraham Lincoln said, “In the end, it’s not the years in your life that count. It’s the life in your years.” Our time of probation on earth may be long or short, but whatever time God gives us we need to spend serving and praising Him. Solomon warns us, “Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might; for there is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom, in the grave, whither thou goest.” Our work is over, and we cannot praise our God nor do anything else after we are dead. Jesus said, “I must work the works of him that sent me, while it is day: the night cometh, when no man can work.” His work was cut short in just over 33 years, but he packed more into that short life than those who lived up to 900 years in the days of Noah.

Joan Baez the folk singer said, “You don’t get to choose how you are going to die or when. You can only decide how you’re going to live.” We don’t know how much time we have left, so it is important for us to make every day count by dedicating it to serving the Lord. If we are still alive, then our mission is not yet finished, but we are another day closer to when it will be finished. Paul tells us to wake up and get going because “certainly now is our salvation nearer than when we believed.” We need to make every day, every moment, count — because we do not know how much time we have left to do so.

It has been said that no one can go back and make a brand new start, but we can all start from now and make a brand new ending. If we are alive, then our mission on earth is unfinished, and we can begin immediately to work to change our ending. Let us decide to live praising and serving the Lord, and let us continue to do it without stopping until the time when He has determined for us to die. Let us start right now so that we can change our ending to be like “those who by patience in well-doing seek for glory and honor and immortality, [to whom] he will give eternal life.”

Robert J. Lloyd

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