The context of a great question can sometimes elicit a simple response. I asked my friend, “What time is it?” My friend quickly looked at his watch and responded with the time of day. I smiled and replied, “Not what is the time of day, but what is your time in life?” Leo Tolstoy said, “There is only one time that is important–now! It is the most important time because it is the only time we have any power over.”
My question was really curiosity about the direction of his hope and ambition. Kyle Idleman in his book Not a Fan tells a story about a young girl who was killed in a car accident. Brittany was only 17 years old when she died. Shortly before the accident, Brittany had opened a checking account. When her father went to the bank to close the account he noticed she had only written one check—Compassion International to sponsor a child.
Her father, speaking to a sanctuary filled with her friends, challenged them to focus on today because there were no guarantees.
Can any of us imagine, for even a moment, being Brittany’s father? He knew the value and importance of time. He asked everyone a great question, “If you died today, how would you be remembered?”
“What time is it?” What if it were your last day?
Everyone, at some point in life, has heard “live this day as if it were your last.”
Robert D. Smith frames this up the best in his book 20,000 Days and Counting: The Crash Course for Mastering Your Life Right Now when he wrote, “…live this day as if it were your last” isn’t about action. If it were about action, most people would blow off work and ignore 99 percent of their daily responsibilities, just trying to decide what to do. You wouldn’t accomplish much for the long term. So it’s not about actions. It’s about mind-set. It is a thought process.”
Where should such a shift in thought process lead you? Here are two great questions every one needs to answer.
- Who do you want to be remembered by?
- What do you want to be remembered for?
By wrestling with these two questions you frame your future and define how you should live out today.
“Preparation doesn’t begin with what you do. It begins with what you believe. If you believe that your success tomorrow depends on what you do today, than you will treat today differently.”
What time is it? Time to adopt the mind-set that today is your last day. A mind-set that will focus your attention and energy on using your time, talent and resources to positively impact the people you love and lead.
I’ve thought about Kyle Idleman’s story about Brittany a lot over the last few weeks as I prepare for a speaking engagement. I can’t help but think about her last check and what time it is. It has raised two more great questions for me to wrestle with. What will my last check say about me? Will it communicate something more than life was busy?