Sunday, May 10, 2020


Last Day

What if this was your last day?  How would you live it?

I’ve been thinking about this, because today, 2020 May 10, marks the 50th anniversary of my Daddy’s death.  So yesterday would’ve marked his last full day on earth, 1970 May 09.  He was 31, married, and had three children: a 6-year old boy, a 4.5-year old girl, and another son in the womb soon to be born (me).  I know some details about that last day, which I recounted in my poem from Mother’s Day 10 years ago: And I asked Mama to write up a character portrait of Daddy, which is just wonderful and will be shared sometime today, if it hasn’t already. But while, thinking about Daddy’s final day of life is the inspiration of this message, it not really about him as you’ll see.

Last Day

What if this was your last day?  Would you accept it?

Just thinking about those two words automatically invokes images from one of my favorite movies, Logan’s Run from 1976.  In that film, in order to keep the population under control living in the sealed domed city, the citizens voluntarily went to Carousel on their 30th birthday.  There they would don hockey/skull masks and white-body suits decorated with red flames, stand in a circle, and raise their blinking red life clocks (crystal palm flowers) to “Identify”.  Then they would float up into the chamber until they exploded in a fiery display while their fellow citizen onlookers shouted, “Renew, Renew!”  Why would anyone do this?  Well, they were taught to believe they would be reborn and just get to live another 30 years of fun and pleasure.  Those that didn’t believe the messaged lie realized that the people were actually going to their deaths.  So in order to live longer than 30, they attempted to flee the city seals, becoming Runners.  The City could not tolerate that sort of independent thinking, which would upset their control and delicate balance, so they enlisted Sandmen to terminate the runners. Logan was a Sandman, but later became a runner.  Anyway, it’s a great movie from story to music to costumes, but again not the real subject.

Last Day

What if this was your last day?  Would you want to know?

My Daddy didn’t know.  He had no idea the Lord would be calling him home early the next morning while working at the rail yard.  In Logan’s Run, there was a set time to die, but any fear about it was mostly suppressed by the false teaching of renewal.  Those who feared death, the runners, fought hard to resist their fate.  Some people may be ill or injured and can sense that their time is short. 

For me I think it would depend on the circumstances on whether or not I’d want to know.  Every (and I do mean every) time, we go on a long vacation out west, I’m always anxious the last day of the trip or as we depart one of our key extended stops.  Even if I’m looking forward to going home, I’m sad that the time off is ending, that I’m leaving my loved ones for another year or so.  It just isn’t the best day.  Usually, no matter how much I try to put it off in my head, I’m preoccupied with the ending, rather than enjoying the remaining time to its fullest. So I think knowing (most of the time) would be crippling.  But if you had enough foreknowledge, you might be able to scratch off some items from a bucket list, see some things or some people, and say things that needed to be said.  Be prepared with minimal regrets.  So yeah, it depends, and Lord willing I’ll one-day (none too soon I hope) get just the right last day that would be best for me.

Last Day

What if this was your last day?  Would you redeem the time?

There are some familiar life slogans about living that could apply here:  Carpe Diem (“Seize the Day”) and “Live like there is no tomorrow”.  But these are shortsighted and impractical for they suggest you forego thinking of the consequences of your actions or planning your future.  And if today isn’t your last day, then you might be in a heap of trouble.  Maybe your actions wouldn’t even be considered reckless, but you could put so much stress on yourself to “make the most” of the day that it would be impossible to match your expectations.  Or you exhaust all your resources (or accrue unneeded debt) fulfilling a goal just to please yourself, because you deserve it or want it now.

The Bible is the best resource for living I know and there are several verses that are relevant:

Psalm 90:12
Teach us to number our days,
that we may gain a heart of wisdom.

Ecclesiastes 5:18
This is what I have observed to be good: that it is appropriate for a person to eat, to drink and to find satisfaction in their toilsome labor under the sun during the few days of life God has given them--for this is their lot.

Ephesians 5:15-17
15See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise,
16 Redeeming the time, because the days are evil.
17 Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is.

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
16 Rejoice always, 
17 pray continually, 
18 give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.

1 Peter 3:10
For, “Whoever would love life and see good days must keep their tongue from evil and their lips from deceitful speech.

So what does “redeeming the time” mean during the Covid-19 lockdowns when we may shower every other day and continually wear pajama pants?  Obviously you can’t abandon your responsibilities if you’re blessed to still be able to work from home.  You also can’t go anywhere “fun”.  And if you’re not a full-time evangelist your activities are not necessarily going to be “holy” 100 percent of the time.  What about the routine things like walking the dog or doing the dishes?  Well, it really all comes down your attitude.

You may take a walk, see something beautiful and thank God for allowing you to appreciate it.
You may do an act of service in your household out of love.
You may do your best to talk kindly to others.
You may choose to abandon a resentment and bitterness in your heart.
You may take time to just relax and rest.
You may accomplish a special project of reorganization that just makes your personal space more calm and pleasant.

Now, special projects are important, especially after you’ve completed one of them.  But I tend to get obsessive and consumed by them until they’re finished and usually that could take several weekends.  The in-between time is no fun at all (with it always nagging and distracting your thoughts – sort of like this post over the last two days), but the benefits are usually tremendous.  I don’t like to start anything that I can’t finish in a reasonable amount of time and it would not be my go-to Last Day activity.

Some of my best days recently are recognizing the small moments with family.  Nice walks.  Entertaining TV shows, movies, music, or comics. (I finally have an appreciation of Don Heck’s artwork, reading his Justice League America stories on the 65” TCL TV using the DC Universe system.)  It’s okay to enjoy such pursuits, but that’s after “Taking Care of Business” beforehand, getting your work done, Bible reading, chores, etc. 

I used to be disappointed when Don Heck's art was what was behind a George Perez cover, but these stories are really good!
 1Timothy 6:6-8
6But godliness with contentment is great gain.
7For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it.
8But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that.

Lest you think I’ve got it all together, dear reader.  I’m a collector…of many different things.  It’s part of how God made me/shaped me.  It allows me to connect with people I normally would never have the opportunity to encounter.  Many of my friendships center on my beloved hobbies (and maybe God will use our relationship as a way of showing His love to them).  And as a collector, you’re often seeking the next thing and that’s where it can get to be a problem, spending hours on end searching for that next thing, thinking about the next thing or how to get the funds to purchase that next thing, isn’t the best use of my time. Not that you shouldn’t plan (those 12” Avengers Endgame Captain America figures will take months to budget for), but it’s got to be held in check.  And sometimes I don’t do that well.  It would be sad to have your last day spent in an ultimately fruitless pursuit, even if it were something you’d be permitted to enjoy.

Last Day

What if this was your last day?  Would you be prepared?

My Daddy was ready to die.  Maybe not consciously, if he had known, but spiritually he was ready to meet his Lord and Savior, secure in the knowledge that “[his] hope [was] built on nothing less
than Jesus Christ, [his] righteousness.”  The refrain of the hymn goes like this:

On Christ, the solid Rock, I stand;
All other ground is sinking sand,
  All other ground is sinking sand.

Is your hope in yourself (the New Age god of self)?  In science (the new age god of today)?  In the authorities (do I even have to comment)?  There is no firmer foundation than Jesus and he is the only hope for salvation according to the Bible. 

1 Peter 5:7
Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.

Acts 4:12
Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved.

While the concept of renewal in Logan’s Run was false, where you’d be reincarnated as someone else, perhaps with or without memory of your previous life; the concept of eternal life is true based on what the Bible teaches.  There is more to this earthly life. What we do here and now does matter later.  So, in celebration of my Daddy’s earthly death and eternal life 50 years ago today, I leave you with this verse:

Isaiah 55:6-7
Seek ye the Lord while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near:
Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the Lord, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.

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