What would you do if you knew that you were going to die today?

A Christian view.


(from an email “Weekend Reflections” sent worldwide.  The source is probably a very ‘staunch Christian’ of Chinese origin)


What if you knew with absolute certainty that today was going to be your last day on earth? Suppose you had less than 24 hours to live. What would you do? Where would you go? How would you spend your last few hours on planet earth?


If you knew you were going to die today, Would you stay where you are right now, or would you hop on a plane and go see someone you love? Would you pick up the phone and call a few people? If you did, who would you call? What would you say?

It's good to think about questions like this from time to time. Martin Luther said that we should live every day with the day of our death always before us, like a billboard we see everywhere we turn.


In his book The Seven Secrets of Highly Effective People, Steven Covey talks about living with the end in view. That’s a great biblical principle--to live today as if it were your last day. Jim Elliott (who died fifty years ago this month) said he wanted to live so that when it came time to die, there was nothing else he needed to do but die.

Let's sharpen the question just a bit. Suppose you had just thirty seconds to live. Perhaps you've been injured in a terrible car accident, or perhaps you're dying in a hospital and you know the end is very near. Your family is gathered around you, waiting for your final words. Suppose you have thirty seconds, and then you're gone. What would you say? How would you sum up all that was important to you?


I thought about that for a while and wondered what I would say to my three sons. It didn't take me long to come up with an answer. In my final thirty seconds, I would say four things to my boys:

1. Take care of your mother.
2. Love each other.
3. Marry Christian wives.
4. Serve Jesus Christ forever.


That’s it. Take care of your mother, love each other, marry Christian wives, and serve Jesus Christ forever. If my boys did that, then I would die a happy man. That summarizes everything I’ve tried to live for.


In earlier generations Christians talked about death a lot more than we do now. The Puritans they actually wrote books to help each other learn how to die well. Dying well was considered to be a Christian virtue.


I have a friend who served in combat in Vietnam. He was captured by the North Vietnamese, shot in the feet, and escaped by crawling out of the prison camp on his hands and knees. He knows all about war because he's seen men die in battle.

Not long ago he told me that Americans are afraid to die. He wasn't talking about the brave men and women who serve in our Armed Forces. They lay their lives on the line every day, and they do it without asking for sympathy. They do it because it is their job, and because they believe in what America stands for. That's not what my friend meant. He meant that ordinary Americans are afraid to die.


He told me this three years ago, and he said it again after the London bombings last summer. He said the difference between us and the terrorists is that we're afraid to die and they’re not.


We were sitting on a park bench in the center of a beautiful city on a lovely summer day. “Look at all we’ve got." I saw happy couples strolling together hand in hand and young people stretched out on the grass. "We think we’re already living in heaven. We think we’ve already got the best of all possible worlds. Why would anyone want to leave this?” Compare that to where the terrorists come from. No wonder they’re not afraid to die. Americans are afraid to die precisely as a result of our own material prosperity.


That's a fairly accurate assessment of our whole society. And in some ways it’s true of the church as well. Even inside the church we get a little bit squeamish talking about death. You’re never going to say to your friends, "Hey, I’ve got some pizza. You bring the Coke. Come on over to my house, we’re going to talk about death Friday night." You’re not going to say that because if you do, nobody’s going to come. Nobody wants to talk about death.


But in the old days when life was harder, people thought a lot more about death. John Wesley, the founder of the Methodist movement, used to say about his people, “Our people die well.”


So what would you do if today were your last day on earth? Where would you go? What would you do? Who would you talk to? And what would you say?


Author – Unknown



I dutifully forwarded the email,  and received what I deem to be some more reasonable and sensible points of views. They are as follow:-




Comment 1:


(Can not laughing at this advice)
Just a joke:-

I love the 3rd advice:-  "Marry Christian wives"
I noted I am advised to marry 'wives',  but not girls. And this is in the plural.

If sombody tells me that,  I would say,  well,  I would happily do that,  but won't those wives be committing adultery by marrying me when they are already married?  What would the Lord say to that? 

In that case,  should I tell every Christian men I meet "I want to marry your wife".  Well,  that is what the advice from the spiritual man is. I am just trying to obey.  :):):)

I will marry them one condition:-   they are still young and beautiful,  and they don't hassle me for sex and property.  You don't know how many hundreds will obey such 'religious orders' and rush to marry me.  I can not cope with all of them.  :):):)   Besides, anybody who gives his old hagg of a wife to me is suspected of trying to get rid of the ugly wife in exchange for a nice young one. I am not fool, you know.

Now,  it is not advisable to marry Christian girls, would it?  How can there be Christian wives if nobody marries Christian girls in the first place?  I suggest the way to overcome this problem is to marry non-Christian girls,  and then baptise them to turn them into Christian wives,  and then marry them off to those who rush in to obey our advice?

By the way,  since a woman is eligible if she is "married",  how many times can she marry?  I do not see any constraints in the advice,  so II marry her as long as she is a married woman?  Quite amazing liberal attitude.  :):):)

By the way,  should the daughters be ordered to "marry Christian husbands" too?   That would be quite amazing! 

I just hope the clever person giving this advice is not a priest in a very high authoritative position, otherwise,  ayah!   The church would be turned upside down into a Paradise of Eden - everybody marrying everybody's wives.  :):):)

On a serious note,  this 'learned' bloke giving the advice, thinking that he has stumbled upon a rare inspirational revelation from God, does not even realise that this impermanence and death thing is not new,  but is the very foundations and cornerstone of the Buddhist religion!  Impermanence is our Buddhist teachings. Being mindful of death and possibility of death at anytime is the forte of the Buddhist teaching.  As Nagarguna asserted "you do not know which will come first  -  your death or your next breath".  The Dalai Lama still meditates on our famous Buddhist teaching of the "9 Points of Impermanence and Death" everyday.  Nothing is new here.  It is not the holy spirit shaking our brains out. 



Comment 2:


Better (weekend) reflections for some Overseas Chinese people is to ask 
themselves, who am I?
What culture do I wish to practice? What beliefs system do I want for 
myself and the future generations?
Do I want middle east beliefs (Christian, Islam etc) to dominate my 
life and culture? 
What about my Chinese culture and beliefs? Are they not worthy or are 
they inferior to the imports? 
Why do I need foreign imports? Are Chinese so inferior? Do Chinese not 
have their own religious philosophies? 
Are Chinese so stupid as to discard their own philosophies and 
Who am I , if I don't practise my Chinese culture and beliefs? 
Am I still Chinese if I practise only selectively some Chinese culture 
or beliefs (just a few cultural activities), and practise the 
'imported' culture for the rest of my life. Who am I? 
What do Chinese in/from China think of me? Do they think I'm odd? Do 
they think I'm Chinese, especially when I practise cultural beliefs from 
foreign lands (mostly middle east)? 
What about Chinese civilization? Do I just pay lip service to the long, 
continuous and durable civilization my ancestors pass down to me for 
the last 200 generations? In reality, do I think others' civilization(s) 
is better or superior because I practise their culture and don't really 
give much thoughts to Chinese culture and beliefs. 
Do I spend much time appreciating, contemplating, practising or 
celebrating my Chinese heritage? Do I question what I do or just follow what 
others around me? Who am I?
These are just a few questions, we as Chinese, should calmly and 
quietly reflect on (over many weekends).



Comment 4


Those 'weekend reflections' are no more than spam with a Christian 
With repetitions the sender(s) hope to brain-wash the unthinking or 
unwary people into their way of thinking. They may not even be aware or 
are simply so blinded that the contents when read by non-Christians 
appear contradictory or ludicrous (eg. 'marry Christian wives'). See what 
blind faith do to people - they learned not to use their brain!



Comment 4:


The writer of this article is either a joker, or a loose head.  Or he might be an excellent candidate for the wacko type of talibanistic Christian crusade, ready to march around the world in his cyber-internet chariot conquering savageous lands and converting the barbarians to Christianity – to yearn for salvation from a mere mortal man who could not save himself from other mere mortal men, and was deified by his followers, first as a martyr, and later, as a divine incarnation of God, thus, God being born as a man, and thus the Son of God whose blood was shed for the world.  


Curiously,  even though it was shed to save the world,  the world is in even worse shape than when that dead bloke appeared.  And people still need to be saved.  What?   You are already saved and cleansed of your sins, and you still need to be save?  Yes!  They said,  yes,  you still need to accept him blindly as your saviour!  Then only you will be saved.   Oh, …………………  I see your con there.  Never mind  -  you silly twits believe what you want.  I would rather believe in my dog than a dead man.



Comment 5:


1. Take care of your mother.
2. Love each other.
3. Marry Christian wives.
4. Serve Jesus Christ forever.


The first two advice are reasonable, and people from any religion, or even no religion, can easily accept  -  which shows that good reasoning is possible to people of good persuasions  -  it is not, and has never been, the monopoly of Christianity or Islam. It might also be possible that Christians may be lacking behind in the second advice “Love each other” – especially if the victim is a non Christian or a non-Muslim. However, during the first 4 centuries of early Christianity, this love was not extended to Christians of other persuasions as well  -  they were suitable for persecution, and indeed, were exterminated  -  they no longer exist after that.


The 3rd and 4th advice are typical of chauvinistic, fanatical, extreme, fundamentalist right wing militant views,  and could have come only from somebody who is so blinded by false faith that he needs to wack himself up (maybe that is what he ought to do  -  wack and jerk himself off a dozen times a day) and stir up more faith to fill in his empty vessel of human mind by great and grandiose pursuits. An excellent specimen of those fanatical extremists who volunteer for suicide jihads.


Please refer such a dangerous creature to a good psychiatrist before he gets worse and does something worse than giving advices.



Comment 6


The writer is so bad in his spiritual understanding and yet he chooses to advise people. The saying “Half empty vessels make the most noise” applies to him. His writings are unprofessional and lack substance.


If he wants to reflect on impermanence and how fleeting our world is, he should be a Buddhist and follow Gautama Buddha’s teachings. He might even progress to study the Mahayana Buddhist teachings, especially the famous topics of ‘Turning away from the 4 attachments’, ‘Impermanence and Death’, ‘Faults of Samsara’, and ‘Perfect Human Rebirth’.


I suggest he also advise his sons to discard Christianity and follow Buddhism, and marry nice Buddhist girls who teach him more about Buddhism.



Comment 7: