Here are four common regrets that most of those who are dying have.
More Time With Family
I have never heard anyone nearing death say they wished they had worked more, made more money, or spent more time away from family. Instead, I hear people say they wished they had not been so wrapped up in their work that they neglected their spouse and their children. Nobody says at their last breath “I sure made a lot of money,” “I sure was a success,” or “I was so good at golf.” The lesson is that people are always more important than things.
More Serving of God
I have heard a few older people who aren’t even on their deathbed yet express regret for not serving God as much. If they could wind back the clock, they’d do a lot of things differently. As I, too, am beyond 60 and have entered into my later years, I also have regrets: the missed witnessing opportunities and the chances to do good for others. Many people have wished they had been more generous with their money. Since you can’t take it with you, why not use your blessings to bless others in this life? You can’t take it with you, but you can send it ahead, as Jesus said, “Lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal” (Matthew 6:20).
More Expressions of Love
Not another minute will our money buy. With much regret, I hear that some people say they wished they had expressed their love more often with those whom they love, not just in words but in actions. Why didn’t I bring my wife flowers more often? Why didn’t I go to the game with my husband when he asked? Just fill in the blank for your own experience.
There is no evangelism beyond the grave and in the kingdom. Many have expressed regrets that they didn’t take more people with them to heaven. Why wait to share the Gospel? You have the cure for eternal punishment sitting in your mouth. I’ve never heard anyone say on their deathbed “I’m sure glad I kept silent about the Gospel before my family and others.” Paul asked, “How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching” (Romans 10:14). The truth is, they won’t hear it unless someone tells them. How about you?
I have been in situations in the hospital and hospice where I heard people’s last words and their lifetime regrets, but for most of us reading this, it is certainly not too late. We can choose today to spend more time with family, we can serve others more, we can express our love in words and deeds more, and we can witness for Christ as we’re commanded to do. So it won’t be goodbye but “see you later.”
May God richly bless you,
Pastor Jack Wellman
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