What If You Only Had One Day Left?
Our world seems obsessed with its own demise. Hollywood movies, strange cults in the desert and the Left Behind series. Scientists in Chicago even made a ‘Doomsday Clock’ that is continually adjusted to remind us how close we are to extinction based on things like the threat of war and, more recently, environmental factors. It now sits at 5 minutes to metaphorical ‘doomsday’—midnight.
I even found a website boasting a ‘death clock’ that will tell you an estimate of your own death. Just plunk in age, body mass index, your outlook on the world etc and it’ll give you a guess. I thought I’d have some fun with it. Apparently I’ll be a month short of my 85th birthday. 1, 538, 645, 430 seconds to live! Apparently if I take up smoking that’ll knock 13 years off.
Yes, the world seems obsessed with its own demise. And us too, sometimes.
The focus of my message on Sunday was the return of Jesus to (a) judge, and (b) usher in a new age—a new heavens and a new earth. It spawned (and continues to spawn) some great conversation: If you had some kind of inside track and knew it was happening tomorrow, what would you do today?
One of the things we seem to have forgotten is that many of those early Christians lived with the expectation that he was coming back soon. And so they readied themselves with an urgent modus operandi of complete trust and forgiveness. Burning love.
We kind of got tired of waiting. And so we procrastinate. But what if we regained that urgent expectation? How might our lives look differently?
Two questions seemed to govern their thinking as they surely wondered to themselves, Is today the day? 1. Am I right with God? And 2. Am I right with those around me?
What would you do if you only had one day left? And not just one day left for you personally, but for everyone. I don’t know about you but I’d get on my knees and pray with passion. I’d hug and kiss my family till the cows came home. I’d be bolder in sharing my faith with those I loved. I’d invite everyone over for a huge meal. I’d tell everyone how special and beautiful they are. I’d look forward to seeing a few people who I have missed since they died to this world. Around the table I’d ask a few people to forgive me. And I’d forgive anyone who came knocking on my door. I’d sing Amazing Grace at the top of my lungs. Our family would stay up late—there wouldn’t be any T.V. or video games or wasted time; we would cherish every single second as we waited for… not the end, but the new perfect beginning.
Because in faith, the end of the world is actually a good thing. Hollywood seems to forget that.
Hear how it’s described metaphorically in Revelation: “Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth… [God] will dwell with them; they will be his peoples, and God himself will be with them; he will wipe every tear from their eyes. Death will be no more; mourning and crying and pain will be no more, for the first things have passed away.” And the one who was seated on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.”
What would you do if you only had one day left? I wonder how our lives would start to change if we started living like that more. Sure we need jobs, and have bills to pay, but the list of what I just said—those things I would do if I only had one day left—has little to do with any of that. It has to do with making Jesus the centre; with loved ones; with forgiveness; with singing.
During my undergrad I was great at procrastinating. (Hopefully, I’m less so now!) I would have some paper worth 75% of my mark due, and I wouldn’t start until my room was clean, worked a bit more on that new song, and had returned some calls. Small things were prioritized over big things. But a friend was even worse than me: We had psychology class together. We were talking in the dorm kitchen about our big final exam while making Kraft Dinner and she was speaking of it in the future tense and me in the past tense. She said, what do you mean? I said, what do you mean? She thought it was next week, but I had just written it two days ago! She had missed it. Too late.
Jesus is coming. What would you do if you only had one day left before it happens?