Only One Year To Live

by Douglas Hoff


Suppose you went to your doctor for an annual physical exam and he said to you, “I am truly sorry but you have cancer in an advanced stage.  It is inoperable and I suspect you have no more than one year to live.”  What would you do with that news?

If you are like most people your initial reaction would be one of shock and disbelief.  You would probably want to get a second opinion to verify the diagnosis.  If another physician concurred, you probably would slowly begin to deal with the reality.

During this time you likely would ask, “Why me?” Job, that great servant of God, also wondered why such evil had befallen him.  However, God did not give him the answers he sought when he wanted them.  It was only after his ordeal that he learned the reason for his sufferings.  Sometimes, we will not receive an answer to the troubling question, “Why me?” when we first ask it.  It may be that we will learn the answer only after this life is over.

In all probability with the time you had left you would think seriously about the future.  Some people need death staring them in the face to turn their minds toward eternal matters.  Knowing death would visit within one year you would read and study your Bible like never before.  You would want to know what to do to be prepared for the Judgment and what heaven will be like.  Most likely, you would take a good look at your life and acknowledge your sins.  To be sure of salvation you would repent and make things right with those you had wronged.

While some people hear the doctor say “You only have about a year to live,” everyone ought to live with the knowledge that death is a certainty.  Even the person who is told he has a year may go sooner than that.  As such, all of us should face each day with a serious determination to live ready to depart this world and meet our Maker (Psalms 95:6).  For the faithful Christian departing this life is pictured as being a great gain since one will be with Christ which is “far better” than being absent from the Lord (Philippians 1:21-23; cf. 2 Corinthians 5:6-10).

This coming year may very well be the last one for some of you who read these words. Are you living your life in a way befitting the gospel of Christ (Philppians 1:27)? If not, why not?

Later tonight many people will be ushering in the New Year with great celebration.  Sober minded folks will also review the past year and consider their strengths and weaknesses.  Wise souls will make resolutions to live better in the coming year as compared with the last 365 days.

Of course, there is no promise that any of us will live for one more year. Jesus Christ could come back before the end of 2007.  He could come back before you finish reading this brief article.  Have you ever considered that truth?  I mean, given serious thought to the fact that any moment could be the appointed time of His return (Matthew 24:35, 36, 42-44; 25:13; Acts 17:31)?  Recall our Lord said, “Therefore you also be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect” (Luke 12:40).

As you think back over the past year which the Lord blessed us with, give careful consideration to your life as a Christian.  Have you been faithful to God? Have you been faithful in worshiping and serving the Lord you confessed at your baptism?  Again, if not, why not?  Surely there is no good reason to be delinquent in these things.  Should the Lord grant you another year in which to live, how will you repay your Maker?  Will you live for self or the Savior who died for you (Galatians 2:20)?  The choice is yours.  Choose wisely.

The author got some ideas for this article from the pen of Garland Elkins, “Only One Year To Live,” Yokefellow, Nov/Dec. 2006, 1-2.


Douglas Hoff, preacher

Flat Rock Church of Christ

(734) 782-2886 [

P.O. Box 12

Flat Rock, MI 481 34-0012


You have my permission to use this article in any non-commercial way.  If you agree with what I teach feel free to publish this (e.g., bulletins, Internet, e-mail) to the glory of God.  All I ask is that you reproduce the article in its entirety including the original title and author’s name.  If you need to edit for length ask about the changes first.  Thanks!