ARTICLE ONLY (NOT UPDATE): Knocking on Death’s Door

Editors Note: This letter was originally written in August, 1999, in conjunction with the article,“Tears of Joy”.  It was my attempt to share my beliefs about eternity with my family, friends, and co-workers.  It is fairly bold, but when we face various crises in our lives, we need to share our faith boldly and clearly.    Kent

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On the last day of July, I experienced massive internal bleeding which resulted in a sudden medical crisis.  Because of excellent medical care and the prayers of many, I am well on the road to recovery.  Since my family, close friends, and associates were not able to contact everyone, I wanted to be sure you knew the background and the present outcome.  I told much of the story in the enclosed letter, Tears of Joy. (I write a monthly letter to our employees and usually copy it to several hundred CEO’s).  You might want to read that letter first.

Five years ago I was diagnosed with an extremely rare disease called Relapsing Polychondritis.  Five years of steroids damaged the lining of my esophagus and my stomach.  The resulting ulcers, which were unknown to me, caused the internal bleeding.

About a year after receiving the diagnosis I read several studies that projected a survival rate of only 75% of the patients at five years.  (It is much higher in recent studies.) Most died due to airway complications.  So at that time I faced the fact of perhaps only living five years or less.  First of all, was I ready to die at an early age?  Secondly, if my remaining time were limited, what areas of my life would I change?  The answer to the first question I’ll explain below.  As for the second, after evaluating my life, I decided to continue to do exactly what I was currently doing.  However, I approached time with my family, relationships with co-workers, financial planning, and my personal goals of serving and motivating others with a more serious commitment and a burning passion.  These have been five busy and satisfying years, and my disease has improved.  My doctors feel that it may burn itself out within the next two or three years regardless of what some negative experts predict.

The first question is one that all of us must answer at one time in our life.  Years ago as a young boy I committed my life to God’s Son – Jesus Christ.  I have absolute faith that He will allow me to spend eternity in Heaven.   Three weeks ago, as I lay on the emergency room table not knowing if I would survive the evening, I was at peace with the results – either way.  I came away from this experience with a burning thought – I would be negligent if I did not clearly explain to each family member, co-worker, and other friends that each of us must answer three questions. (1)  Where will I spend eternity?  (2)  Do I believe that I will reach heaven by the blood of Jesus Christ or by my own works?  (3)  In light of the first two answers, whether I have a few weeks or many more years to live, will the remaining years be lived in view of how I perceive eternity?

Finally, if you know what the Bible teaches and have placed your life in the hands of Jesus Christ, but don’t live daily in light of your decision, then you will enter heaven empty handed.  If your focus on eternity does not affect your relationships with your family, your close friends, your faithful co-workers, and your wide circle of influence, then you will have accepted the greatest of gifts, yet will have not shared it with those that you live with everyday.  My prayer for you is that you will immediately begin to live out your beliefs where you live, work, and play.  Don’t equate religious activity or tradition with spiritual growth and investments.  I was on the right road and was even traveling at a good speed with a sizable cargo of activity.  However, as others, I needed an adjustment of my focus, my priorities, my values, my desires, and my willingness to listen to His voice and be obedient to His words.  How about you?  Are you on the right road?    Are you headed the right way?  My prayers are with you!

Clarifying my Focus,

Kent Humphreys

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About kenthumphreys
Kent Humphreys has been a business leader for over forty years. He also served as CEO of FCCI/Christ@Work for six years and now serves as their worldwide ambassador, speaking, writing, and mentoring young leaders. He continues to be active in distribution, private equities, and real estate. Kent and his wife Davidene have written six books together. They have three children and eight grand-children.

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