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  • Writer's picture~Kimberly Oden

How Careful We’d be if We Knew Which Goodbyes Were our Last

I watched a show recently where a man was suddenly bit by a venomous snake. He’s found by his friend who brings him back to his homestead where he faces death’s door with his wife by his side. He dies for a brief moment, but then miraculously comes back to life. When he does, his wife makes this profound statement:

“How careful we’d be if we knew which goodbyes were our last.”

It caused me to ask myself,

“If you knew today was your last, what parting words would you speak & to whom?”

I’ve said this before, but it’s worth a repeat because I think pondering eternity on the daily is a healthy habit: We all know that we have an expiration date, but the problem is that it’s unpublished, so it’s easy to fall into relational complacency or do the flip & hyper focus on unresolved problems.

Today I read about the time everyone stares at Stephen. He’s a well respected man, full of faith , grace & God’s power. In fact, he’s so filled with Spirit & wisdom, that some Jews become jealous & agree to bear false witness against him.

As the accusations hurl in his direction, he says nothing. It is in the deafening silence that, “everyone in the high council stares at Stephen because his face became as bright as an angel’s!”

I wonder if Stephen knew these lies would lead to his violent death by stoning that very day?

When the high priest finally asks whether the accusations are true, however, he sidesteps the question & tells the long history of God’s faithfulness to the Jewish people.

I’m jumping ahead in reading, but he then turns the conversation to make his own accusations against the Jews, calling them heathen at heart & dead to truth.

Stephen uses his last words to try to awaken his people to meet their long-awaited Messiah, but they cover their ears & refuse to listen. As they begin stoning him, he falls to his knees & lets his dying words become a merciful prayer: “Lord, don’t charge them with this sin.”

Stunning, right? He breathes his last breath to plea mercy for his killers.

Oh, Father, remind us of the brevity of life so we may boldly speak whatever the Holy Spirit prompts. Help us say what we need to say today, so that we have no regrets on our last.

1 KINGS 5:1-6:38

ACTS 7:1-29

PSALM 127:1-5

PROVERBS 16:28-30


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