So thousands of people around the world believe that today is the day the world ends. I’m guessing not many of you reading this page actually believes the world will end at 5:00 p.m. today, but let’s not waste the hype. What if it were true, and you knew that by 5:00 p.m. today life would be wiped out on planet earth? Here are some questions worth thinking about and my own answers to them:
What would you do during your final day?
My not so serious answer: Mexican food. My serious answer: As a pastor I’d be leading services throughout the day inviting people to place their lives in God’s hands. I’d remind them of the promises of Christ and the apostles about heaven and hope. I’d invite them to put their trust in Christ, reciting the prayer he prayed on the cross just before his death, “Into your hands I commit my Spirit.” Because I’d want to spend time with my family, and want our pastors to spend time with their families, we would take turns throughout the day leading these services.
Who would you want to spend your final hours with?
I’d hope to see my closest friends, telling them I love them, but most of my time I’d want to spend with my wife, LaVon, our daughters, son-in-law, parents and siblings.
Where would you want to be when the world ended?
I’d want to wait for the end in the sanctuary at the church. I can’t think of a better place to wait for the end.
Would you have any regrets?
I don’t think I would. I have not been the perfect dad, or son, or husband or Christian, but I think my family knows how much I love them, and I’ve put my trust in Christ and his mercy. I can’t think of anyone I need to be reconciled to. I’m grateful for each day, and for the life I’ve had the opportunity to live.
I’ve officiated at hundreds of funerals. Very few of the deceased thought they would die when they did. Some were clearly ready in every sense of the word. Others were not. Based upon the questions above, are you ready if the end were to come today at 5 p.m.?
Here are a few more specific questions aimed at helping you to be ready:
- Have you put your trust in Christ? Every morning I wake up, slip to my knees and begin the day saying, “Lord, thank you for today, and for my life. I belong to you. My life is in your hands. Help me to live for you, to do your will and to honor you today.” Every night I go to bed and, among the things I say in my bedtime prayers is some variation of, “Into your hands I commit my spirit.” I feel peace each day. I’m in no hurry to die, but I feel ready if something were to happen to me.
- Have you any unfinished business with others? Too many times I’ve officiated at funerals where it was clear that the deceased had not taken the time to reconcile with this or that family member or friend. I remember a woman telling me she wished her dad had just once told her he loved her, or was proud of her. I knew he did love his daughter; he just never told her. Why wait to address these things? You may not have time to do this later.
- Are your affairs really in order? Do you have a valid and up-to-date will? Will the reading of your will and the division of your assets cause pain to any of your loved ones? Will it cause resentment between your surviving family and friends? On many occasions I’ve seen families torn apart by a parent’s last wishes that were not carefully thought through.
- Did you make your life count? Have you sought to make the world a better place? Have you loved your neighbor? Did you do justice and practice kindness? Did you seek to let Christ’s light shine through you? Was your life lived primarily for your own pleasure, or in service to others?
- Will yours be a “good” funeral? The best funerals are those where the deceased had put their trust in Christ, regularly told and showed their family and friends how much they loved them, carefully planned so that their dependant loved ones were cared for while the distribution of assets was understood in advance and felt fair and not hurtful. And finally, good funerals allow us to celebrate the fact that an individual really lived a life in service to God and others.
If the world were to end today at 5 p.m. would you be ready?