It's a sobering thought, but what if you knew that your husband or wife, or son or daughter, or sister or brother, or mother or father, or best friend or neighbor, were going to be dead by midnight? What would you do, what would you say, how would your priorities change? Would your business be less pressing, your and their spiritual condition more important?

Many of us have been in that situation, where death has come unexpectedly to someone we love. In fact, death almost always comes unexpectedly, doesn't it? Not many people die fully prepared for the occasion. There are always, things to do, people to call, letters to write, a conversation which needs completed, some last thing which we wish to accomplish.

I remember one scene in the movie "Pollyanna," where the town minister is preaching to the congregation and his sermon is "Death Comes Unexpectedly." He is trying his best to frighten the congregation into living more spiritual, more pure lives, because they were only a breath away from Satan claiming them. Think about it, should fear be our motivation for living right before God? Should fear be our motivation for working on our relationships?

Og Mandino, the motivational speaker, has said:

Beginning today, treat everyone you meet as if they were going to be dead by midnight. Extend to them all the care, kindness and understanding you can muster, and do with no thought of any reward. Your life will never be the same again.

Jesus said it even more succinctly and powerfully:

Do for others what you would like them to do for you. This is a summary of all that is taught in the law and the prophets (Mathew 7:12 NLT).

Any relationship come to mind?
What did Jesus show us about "doing for others" in his life? He loved us so much, even when we are at our worst. that he was willing to give his life that we could live with him forever.

Yes, treating others as if you might never get a chance to walk with them or talk with them or share with them ever again is a good way to approach life. Not though, because of fear, but because Jesus gave us the example of what relationships should be. Notice what Jesus repeatedly said — these are just two examples he shared shortly before his death:

"A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another" (John 13:34).

"My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you" (John 15:12).

Dead by midnight? Hmm, any relationship come to mind which you need to work on? If you take Jesus' approach out of love and not fear, "Your life will never be the same again."