What if a moment was “the last time?”

Selling a home means walking out of the front door for the last time. It is known and expected.

But what about the unplanned “last times?”

When my dad died ten years ago, he died suddenly. I spent the afternoon with him, taking him for a haircut and making out Christmas checks. If I had known it was the last time…

A few weeks ago, I visited a church member in the hospital for a routine procedure. Things were going well until I got the call that she had passed away. It was the “last time,” but I did not know.

In January 2020, I regularly visited a program that feeds poor children in Managua, Nicaragua. I left and got on the plane. But the pandemic and other factors have stopped a return trip. Now, I cannot see another one on the horizon. If I had known it was the last time…

It happened to the apostle Paul. Acts 20 tells of a stop at Ephesus, a church he loved deeply. When he met with the elders, he told them the truth. He did not know if he would see them again.

“And now, compelled by the Spirit, I am going to Jerusalem, not knowing what will happen to me there. I only know that in every city the Holy Spirit warns me that prison and hardships are facing me.” (Acts 20:22–23, NIV)

He did not waste the moment. He instructed them concerning their task and charge as shepherds and reminded them of his example of faith. He warned them of dangers coming in the future. Wolves in sheep clothing would poach followers. Beware. Take care and maintain diligence.

As far as we know, he did not return. But he did not waste his moment.

Most times, we believe we will have many opportunities. We kiss a spouse goodbye, expecting the end of the day to bring them back. What if tragedy happens and there is no “later.” What would you change if you believed it might be the last time?

A friend? Or a child? How would your interactions alter if you treated that moment as the “last time?”

Would you listen more? Hug longer? Speak kinder? Would each word mean more? Would you linger and ignore your phone when it dings?

How would the “last time” be different than “this time?”

Today, who will you meet that deserves “the last time” focus? Is it your spouse or children? Do you need to call a parent or a grown child and just talk? Make it a “last time” moment.

Usually, life gives us many more opportunities, but no one knows. By treating each moment as “the last time,” they become richer and more loving.

Don’t wait until the “last time.” Treat each day as the last time.