Satan was testing all his little devils on the methods they would use to get people into hell. “What trick or lie would you use?” he asked.
A little devil pupil raised his hand, “I’d tell them there is no heaven. Heaven is only imagination.”
“You’re crazy,” Satan shouted. “Deep down inside, everyone believes that they are going to be rewarded in heaven for all the good they do. Saying there is no heaven does not work.”
Another volunteered, “I’d tell them there is no hell.”
“That’s no good either,” answered his boss. “Instinctively, everyone knows that someday – in a hell – evil and evildoers are going to get what they deserve. It is going to catch up. Forget about that argument.”
A third student said, “I’d tell people: have your fling now and convert later. No hurry. Take your time.”
“Hurrah!” said Satan. “There’s a man who will win. Get up to earth and get to work.”
— William Barclay
[Mihalic, F. (1989). 1000 Stories You Can Use. Manila: Divine Word Publications.]
We’ve been having lots of prophecies about the “End of the World” lately. None so far have come true (obviously). And so far these failed prophecies have reinforced the fact that nobody really knows the exact day of when the world will end, or how exactly it will end. It could be like people across the years have always feared: you wake up to dark, steel gray skies soon set on fire by flaming meteors plummeting to the Earth, accompanied by gigantic tidal waves washing away even the tallest of buildings, earthquakes opening gaping cracks across the Earth’s surface…the works. Or it could be on the end of a fine, perfectly ordinary Saturday: you went through the whole day like you always do on any other normal Saturday, you have dinner with your family, watch TV, clean up, go to bed — and the next time you open your eyes, you’re in a place that’s definitely not your room, or any place on Earth for that matter.
Nobody really knows the exact day of when the world will end.
On the one hand, we should be truly thankful that these prophecies failed and that God decided to give us another day, month, year to live. On the other hand, this shouldn’t be our cue to relax and return to how we usually live our lives.
Someone once said that she wasn’t really afraid of dying. What she was actually afraid of is that she wouldn’t have enough time — enough time to be with people she loved, enough time to let them know how much she loved them, enough time to figure out who she is and why she is here, enough time to do the things she was meant to do.
What have you done with your life so far?
And when someone announces to the world “Time’s up!”, will you be able to answer “Lord, I have done my best to fulfill what You have made me for”?