THE END IS NEAR, at least according to the warnings of a Christian group called Family Radio. The group, led by their 89-year old founder Harold Camping, believes that the Bible mathematically predicts that May 21, 2011 (this Saturday) is Judgment Day, when a massive earthquake will shake the world and all 'real' Christians will be raptured to Heaven. This is to be followed five months later by the actual end of the world as we know it on Oct. 21, 2011.

The vast majority of us aren't taking them seriously for obvious reasons. Their mathematical formula supposedly taken from the Bible is just absolutely ridiculous for one thing. Jesus himself specifically says that nobody will know in advance when he is coming back for another. This also isn't exactly Harold Camping's first kick at the can. He predicted the world would end in 1994, but when it didn't happen, he was forced to recalculate. And then some of us subscribe to some other belief system altogether or don't believe in God at all. 

Regardless of what you believe though, it is incredibly interesting to see how those who believe their world is about to end are behaving during the limited time they have left. 

They believe their last day on earth will be Saturday. And they are living like it. Many of them have given up their homes, quit their jobs, and left their possessions (and in some cases even their countries) behind in order to do what they believe is most important with so little time left: warn the world of what is coming. If you actually think about it, it's ridiculously honourable. These people, however misguided their belief that Saturday is the end may be, care enough about the world, strangers whom they have never met, that they are spending all of their time and money on us instead of on themselves during their last days. I read an article yesterday about a New York City man who has spent $140,000, his life savings, on bus ads to warn people of the impending disaster that supposedly awaits us. I may think their formula is nuts, and I'm definitely guilty of making fun of them for it, but I think we can actually learn something from these people thanks to their remarkable selflessness. What would the world be like now if we consistently all lived for everybody else but ourselves? How many of us would spend our time and money on others we've never met instead of on us if we knew we were going to die today?

The reality is that this could be the last day on earth for any one of us. It really could. Thousands of people die every single day. In fact, every three seconds, two people die, not including victims of natural disasters (or something like that). We never think it will happen to us, but that really doesn't matter. There's just as much a chance that we could get hit by a car or collapse from some sudden health problem today as anybody else. The question is: What would YOU do if you knew today was going to be your last day alive? I decided to compile my own list of the Top 10 Things I Would Do if I Knew I Was Going to Die Today. Here we go:

10. Play soccer. love soccer. It's my favourite sport to play (although hockey is a close second). I would definitely have to get in some 'footie' action during my last day on the planet (and preferably score about seven goals).

9. Empty my bank account. Or at least leave some kind of instructions on what to do with my money. I'd choose carefully a few specific charitable organizations to give it to. I'd probably sell a lot of my personal possessions and use that money for the same causes. After all, I'm not taking any of it with me.

8. Listen to a LOT of music. I also love music. I'm sure many of my favourite artists will play some big shows up in Heaven, but since most of them aren't dead yet, I'd listen to a lot of my favourite songs on my last day on earth.

7. Speak up. If I knew I was going to die today, I would make it a priority to leave some final words of encouragement and advice for certain key people in my life. I'd probably be more honest and direct about my thoughts regarding the direction of my church,  my family, and my friends' lives. I'd warn them of the impending dangers I saw on the horizon and encourage them in the ways I think they should go. After all, this would be my last chance to say something. 

6.  Play laser tag. Laser tag is so underrated. It's good times, it's cheap, you get to dominate all your friends, and you get far more exercise than playing video games (I'm not a Wii fan). Let's just say I'd feel far more accomplished saying I played laser tag on my last day instead of Halo.

5. Spend time with my friends. Obviously, the people we've spent the most time with during our lives are the ones we'll most likely want to spend the most time with in our final moments (if we get the luxury of knowing that they are, in fact, our final moments). My friends and I have shared many great memories over the years and I'd want to make some more with them on my last day on the planet. Besides, who else am I going to play laser tag with? 

4. Eat a couple of Baconators (or three or four). It can't hurt at this point, right? 

3. Finish well. I'm extremely passionate about making the most of my life and the most of the potential I've been entrusted with. Whether that's playing hard to the final whistle, following through with a dream or simply making the most of the time allotted to me, not finishing what I've started is not an option to me. On my last day on earth, I would want to tie up whatever loose ends existed in my work and other endeavours. Likely, I'd be working on the final entry for this blog. 

2. Go for a walk. Ok, maybe I'm just feeling guilty after meditating on the fruitfulness of Halo, but I have taken the beauty of the world around me SO for granted in my life and a walk with nothing else to focus on but just the awesomeness of nature could do me some good. All this other stuff was just made up by us, but the trees and wind and sunsets? Can't replicate that.

1. Tell people about Jesus. Quite honestly, this would be the first thing on my mind if I knew today was going to be my last day on earth. No word of a lie. This may be a disappointing finale to some of you, but the reality is that I have no desire for any of my friends, family, loved ones or even strangers to be eternally separated from God, and I have every desire that they experience the same unconditional love, grace, peace and truth which I have experienced in my life, so confronting various people in my life and asking them to seriously consider the claims of Jesus Christ would be my highest priority. I believe that God offers us forgiveness of our evils, complete transformation, and eternal life through the sacrifice he made in the person of Jesus. There's nothing more important to me in this world than that other people know those awesome gifts too, and that they know them before it's too late.

What about you? What would you do during your last day of life? Maybe we should live today and every day more like that.
5/21/2011 03:49:25

How could one live their life like it is their last if they hold the belief that there is life after mortal death?

It seems that the only true way to go about this is to live this life as our last, because it's the only one of which we truly know we have. This makes life infinitely more valuable.

5/21/2011 15:31:51

"How could one live their life like it is their last if they hold the belief that there is life after mortal death?"

@ Sven:

One might live their life like it is their last day because the second life, life after death, is not one we can assume much about. We truthfully cannot know how we will live or what life will entail. This life and the next are two very different things. So live this life to the fullest while your still in this world, and what comes next will be another story.

5/21/2011 15:39:52

Hi Sven! Thanks for posting!

To answer your question, I for one would want to make an impact on this earth for everyone else, and I think most people share that desire, regardless of whether they believe in life after mortal death or not. Don't you? Believing that there is life after mortal death though gives, I think, an even greater urgency to that desire to make an impact because it means you would also want other people to experience that greater life.

I actually disagree with your last statement. I don't think that living this life as if it is the only one we have makes it more valuable at all. Actually, it makes it more meaningless. You can certainly live in the moment and perhaps enjoy this life in doing so to a certain degree, but this doesn't make it more valuable objectively speaking. In the grand scheme of things, it would ultimately mean nothing at all.

I think we're intended to know that there is more life to come. If God exists, and I believe that he does, I think he wants us to seek truth and arrive at certainty, not wave it off as unknowable and just wait to see what happens. It's tempting to just live in the moment and not worry about it, but...in the end, the costs of that could be literally deadly, and I think ultimately less fulfilling. What do you think about that?


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