Reflections on the End of the World

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Taken May 22, 2011

Image by BFS Man via Flickr

If you knew this was your last day on earth, what would you do today?

Usually when people ask this question, they’re trying to get us to think about our lives differently, to rearrange our priorities properly. It’s a rhetorical device used to make the point that a lot of what we spend our time doing isn’t really all that important.

So what would I do, if today was the end of all things? Well, I’d do a lot of things. I’d keep the kids home from school. Leave the computer off (because obviously the novel’s not gonna get finished anyway). Go out in the middle of nowhere and sit for a couple of hours. Take the whole family out for a 5-star dinner and eat whatever I want, as much as I want.

I can come up with quite a few ways to spend my last day on Earth. You know what all of them have in common? They’re all things you can’t do day after day. What I just described is not sustainable. You have to live real life.

The fact is, we’re never going to know when the end of all things is approaching. People may try to nail down an exact date, like Harold Camping, or they may say, “We may not know exactly when, but everything predicted in the Bible is coming true: wars, natural disasters…so I know it’s coming soon!” The trouble is, wars and natural disasters have always been with us and will always be with us, whether we like it or not. I don’t believe we’re in the end times any more now than they were in 1201 A.D., when an earthquake killed over a million people in Egypt and Syria.

I know none of you need convincing on this topic. I’m only bringing it up to point out that we can’t live “like it’s the last day on Earth”—unless we rethink what that means. We can’t spend our savings, ignore our health in the interest of enjoying the bounty of the world. We can’t stop working and paying the bills in the interest of spending quality time with our families. All we can do is live our everyday lives in the best way we know how: juggling responsibility and relaxation, family and work, and striving to discern the path of righteousness through petty squabbles and earth-shattering decisions. And if we’re doing that, then why worry about when the end is coming? We’re already doing everything we can to be ready.

9 thoughts on “Reflections on the End of the World

  1. 100% agree. You know, we found out this morning that a coworker’s husband passed away suddenly yesterday. I think that news hit me 500% harder than any prediction that the world was ending on Saturday. Because it made me think about whether I was appreciating and loving my husband the way I ought and if he were to pass away today, how would I feel about that? And, sure, I can’t make a sweeping change…thankfully, my husband and I are on great terms right now and the only regret I might have would be that we haven’t had a lot of couple time lately…but we have had a lot of famly time.

  2. An old sorority sister of mine lost her less than one month old baby to SIDS on Wednesday. When I heard about it, I thought, “Wow. Well, for them the world ended on Wednesday.”

    I agree with you. You can’t keep waiting on for the end. You’ve just gotta live this one precious life and enjoy it for everything it is. My friend only got to have her son for a few short weeks, but I am sure she lived every day just enjoying her new little man and not worrying about when it was all going to end.

    Great post, as always.

  3. Interesting that you pointed out the unsustainability of overindulgence… because many people feel they must experience everything in the “here and now” and “live life to the fullest” (whatever their definition of “fullest” means…)

    Whereas, I recall, the Bible mentions that we should turn away from worldly things, to focus on listening to God’s desires and gaining bounty in heaven.

    (Oy, listen to me… preaching a sermon, really?!)

    But I really wanted to say that I agree with you 100%….

    We need to remain focused on maintaining ourselves and our families, being good stewards of everything we’re blessed with – for this short time we’re on Earth, and not get caught up in this excessive living mentality.

    Okay, now that I’m feel all charitable, I should donate the contents of my closet… Lord knows I only wear ten outfits at most. 😛

  4. evanscove

    Yes, we have to live one day at a time while still preparing for the future. “Live each day as if it were your last” is a bunch of baloney. It’s not possible–not if you want to accomplish anything worthwhile or be ready for the days ahead.

    Poor Harold Camping, not to mention his duped sheep. Pitiful bunch of folks. Who was he deceiving most? Himself, or others?

    And giving away your possessions when you know your life is about to end is not particularly meritorious. After all, it’s hardly a sacrifice, since you won’t be needing them any more.

    Good food for thought, as usual.

    Evan

  5. Live every day so as to have no regrets before God because it very well could be the last. Keep in mind that immediately upon death we will meet Jesus and undergo judgement.

    Last Sunday many people in Joplin, MO woke up in the morning not expecting they would be dead by nightfall. For them the world ended. This sobering thought makes me think that I need to work more on being a better person every day.

    I’m with you on the end times. We ain’t seen nothin’ yet. There’s a long way to go before Jesus comes again.

  6. I like this. It reminds me of my FIL, actually – after losing his wife and having a double bypass six months later, he’s living every day like it’s his last – but it just seems to leave him ragged and even more tightly wound. There’s peace in living an everyday life.

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