This might fall under the "that's hard to believe category," but it is true.
When I was in high school, I was in several theatrical productions, from Oliver to Little Mary Sunshine to Fiddler on the Roof.
I loved it. In Oliver, I was one of the little urchin boys (even though I was around 6-2 as a Freshman in high school).
In Fiddler, I was a Russian soldier who married on of Teyva's daughters.
I can remember the dress rehearsals each time. Practice, practice, practice.
Funny thing about dress rehearsals - deep down inside you didn't really give it your "best" as you wanted to save the "best" for the real deal - the actual performance.
The night of the actual performance, the emotions are entirely difference. We would say to one another, "this is not just a run through. Tonight really counts. We can't go back over and make up for mistakes. We need to give it our best shot."
Every line, every cue, every entrance and exit -- was now extremely important. We had an audience we were playing to.
Guess what? We only get one shot at life.
The life we live today is the real thing. Sometimes we live as if this was and is just a run-through, as if we will get another shot at it someday.
No, today counts. Yesterday is gone, tomorrow is not yet here, today is all we have.
As Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 9:24, "Run in such a way as to win the prize."
I encourage all of us to give forth our best effort.
And know this - ultimately we are playing for an audience of one - God.