In the film, The Tomorrow War, the time-traveling husband and father (played by Chris Pratt) discovers when and how he will die, giving him a second chance in deciding how he wants to live his life.
Romans 14:7 offers some sound wisdom, “For none of us lives for ourselves alone, and none of us dies for ourselves alone.”
After re-evaluating how his selfish choices will hurt and impact his family in the long run, he makes a bold decision to correct the former path he followed. He decides to choose selflessness over selfishness and focuses on improving and bettering his wife and daughter’s lives for the future.
Living Without Regret
We recently learned of what seems like a premature passing of a close friend, considered by most too young for his life to end. It’s natural to wonder when someone passes away before expected, if they had known ahead of time how soon their life would end, would they have lived any differently?
Because many individuals believe there is plenty of time ahead to do the things they want to do, they often delay or procrastinate in concentrating on what things are truly important in life.
As a Hospice chaplain, my husband deals with end-of-life regrets on a regular basis. He hears and counsels countless individuals, both patients and family members, who if given a second chance would live their lives differently by making choices that benefit their loved ones more than themselves.
Sadly, there is a deep regret for some who, at the end of their lives, realize they lived their lives selfishly for their own interests at the expense of those they love. On the other hand, rarely do individuals regret what they’ve done for others, usually only wishing they had done even more.
Watching films like the Pratt movie and hearing real-life individuals’ end-of-life regrets often cause us to consider life choices, asking how can we live life daily so, at the end of it, we are satisfied with our decisions? Below are three ways husbands and fathers can begin:
1. Consider Others More Important Than Yourself
By the end of the Pratt film, nothing mattered more to his character than his family. In time traveling he saw where his living for himself ultimately led him and his family in the end. He came to the point of wanting to live sacrificially as Ephesians 5:25 describes: “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave Himself up for her.”
His character learned how his choices and the paths he pursued in life deeply affected his family, along with life-changing consequences. Although a fictional story, The Tomorrow War holds some deep truths for husbands and fathers concerning taking care of their wives and children, and looking at the long-term effects of their everyday choices and decisions.
As my husband sits beside hundreds of dying individuals, what he usually sees is how most realize the priceless value of their families above everything they own and every accomplishment they attained. At the end of life, material possessions and achievements have lost their value, and nothing matters more to them than their family.
2. Give More Than You Take
In the end, Pratt’s character gained a new understanding of what really matters, along with a new appreciation for all God had given him in life. He discovered it’s what you give in life that matters more than what you get.
He learned that what he invested in his family over his own selfish pursuits had long-lasting value and brought more satisfaction to not only their lives but to his own life, too. He discovered how his everyday decisions impacted his and his family’s future.
Philippians 2:3-4 encourages, “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.”
As well, in 1 Timothy 6:18, the Apostle Paul explains how life is not about what we get but about being rich in good deeds and giving generously to our family, neighbors, and those around us.
Likewise, Jesus taught us that when doing for others, we are really doing for Him. “For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in” (Matthew 25:35).
At the end of life, what God encourages us to do is much more satisfying than what we might choose on our own. God in His wisdom has explained to us how we can live our lives in a way that brings satisfaction over regret.
3. Fulfill Your Calling as a Husband and Father
Because today, tomorrow is not promised to anyone, it’s important for fathers and husbands to make the most of each and every day. Some may ask how it’s possible with work and other responsibilities to fulfill the calling of a husband and father? Below are five practical ways to start:
Pray for your family each day, whether it’s in the car on the way to work, during a break, or at lunchtime; commit to praying for your wife and children on a daily basis. Ephesians 6:18 urges, “And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.”
Express love to your wife and family every day in some way, whether it’s spoken, written, through a phone call, or in text. Communicate constant, reassuring reminders of your love into the lives of your family. 1 Corinthians 16:14, urges, “Do everything in love.”
Most importantly, invest spiritually in their lives by living out a daily relationship with the Lord openly before them, teaching them God’s word as you do. Let them see God’s faithfulness in your life through the everyday situations you face, both good and bad.
Protect your family by making sure they have a safe place to live and reliable vehicles to drive. Take care of issues that need repair or replacement as they arise.
Also, take time to look over the places they frequent and events they attend, training them on how to stay safe and be alert in public settings. Provide them with practical skills to protect themselves and what to do in situations if they ever feel unsafe or at risk. Prepare them on how to respond in crisis situations.
Teach them to recognize there is a real enemy roaming the earth and how to be prepared to face his evil onslaughts. 1 Peter 5:8 urges, “Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.”
Provide for your family beyond your salary by making sure their personal needs for clothes, shoes, personal care items, and nutritious food are met. Encourage them to maintain a healthy lifestyle through recreational opportunities, along with well-being check-ups and care.
Sometimes, Christian husbands and fathers are unaware of 1 Timothy 5:8’s caution to men, “Anyone who does not provide for their relatives, and especially for their own household, has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.”
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Lynette Kittle is married with four daughters. She enjoys writing about faith, marriage, parenting, relationships, and life. Her writing has been published by Focus on the Family, Decision, Today’s Christian Woman, kirkcameron.com, Ungrind.org, StartMarriageRight.com, and more. She has a M.A. in Communication from Regent University and serves as associate producer for Soul Check TV.