The last time our society pondered seriously questions like this was in late 2012. You might recall the discussions, fears and anxieties leading up to December 21st of that year. People were speculating and debating at length about a Nostradamus prediction and how the Mayan calendar ends that day.
My theology class started considering the question yesterday in view of the upcoming final exam slated for next week: So, if you knew the world were to end tomorrow, what would you do today?
Study for final exams slated for next week?
Spend time with loved ones?
Throw a spectacular party?
Warn others about the world’s end and our approaching judgment?
Feed the poor?
Hide all your money in a “safe” space?
Take part in a worship service?
Plant a tree?
A statement attributed to Martin Luther reads, “If I knew that tomorrow was the end of the world, I would plant an apple tree today!” Whether or not Luther actually made such a statement, it is worth pondering. Could you imagine planting a tree today if you knew the world were to end tomorrow?
I suppose it all depends on what you think is important. Stewardship and faithfulness are neglected words in our society. Some of the questions above reflect concern for stewardship and faithfulness, including the one on planting a tree. We have a responsibility to care for life as long as we have it no matter what awaits us.
We so often live as if we will never die. Regardless of when the world ends, what if today were our last day? Do we live with a sense of urgency and purposiveness? According to the Bible, each of us is destined to die once and then face judgment for our deeds done in the body (Hebrews 9:27; 2 Corinthians 5:10).
How prepared are we to meet our Maker? How well have we cared for those God has made—people, animals, plants, and trees? We can get so preoccupied with looking out for number one, even in preparing for the world’s end. Ironically, we might become accomplices in bringing about the apocalypse by running over anyone or anything that gets in the way of our grand escape. We need to make haste slowly. So, no matter what else we do, stop long enough to smell some flowers and plant some trees along the way.