Across the Pastor’s Desk: How to spend a last day on Earth

Published 8:51 pm Thursday, November 8, 2018

Across the Pastor’s Desk by Kent Otterman

Kent Otterman


What would you do if you knew you had only one day left to live?  That’s what Gunther Klempnauer asked 625 young German students in 12 vocational schools. His findings revealed that 20 percent of the young men questioned would spend their last day on earth drinking, taking drugs and pursuing young women.

Email newsletter signup

A different response came from an 18-year-old woman who wrote, “I would like to spend my last evening in church to thank God for a full and happy life.”

Let me ask you: What do you think you’d do if you knew that this was it — your last 24 hours? If you are not a Christian, the wisest thing to do would be to trust Jesus as your Savior. Jesus said, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” (John 14:6) We also read in John 3:36: “Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God’s wrath remains on him.” There is nothing more important than knowing Jesus as your Savior through humble repentance and faith.

If you are a Christian, maybe there’s some unfinished business that you have to take care of. Is there someone you need to apologize to? Is there someone you need to forgive? Do you owe anyone money, a visit or a word of encouragement? If it is within your power to act, now is the time to do it.

Sure, you may have many more years, but on the other hand, you may not. James writes, “What is your life?  You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes.” (James 4:14b)  Now is always the best time to do God’s will, because now is all you have for sure.  Live this day as if it were your last — it may be!

Kent Otterman is chaplain of Good Samaritan Society of Albert Lea and pastor of Round Prairie Lutheran Church of rural Glenville and Faith Lutheran Church of London.