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Eternity Sunday

November 20, 2011

What kind of obituary will write God about me?

“The Lord answered, “Who then is the faithful and wise manager, whom the master puts in charge of his servants to give them their food allowance at the proper time?  It will be good for that servant whom the master finds doing so when he returns.  Truly I tell you, he will put him in charge of all his possessions.  But suppose the servant says to himself, ‘My master is taking a long time in coming,’ and he then begins to beat the other servants, both men and women, and to eat and drink and get drunk.  The master of that servant will come on a day when he does not expect him and at an hour he is not aware of. He will cut him to pieces and assign him a place with the unbelievers.

 “The servant who knows the master’s will and does not get ready or does not do what the master wants will be beaten with many blows.  But the one who does not know and does things deserving punishment will be beaten with few blows. From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked.

Luke 12:42-48

Some Christians do not care when Jesus will come again. They live happily in this world and perhaps crave tranquility believing the Judgment Day will not come too soon. Others, however, yearn for heaven, and may want to leave behind a life of illness and mourning. The early Christians were convinced that Christ would return in an immediate time. Some of them even left their jobs and sold all of their property, because they thought that they would not need material things anymore. Now is “expected soon” has been diluted, it has been two thousand years and Jesus has not come yet. That he will come “soon” can no longer be understood in human terms, only in the measure of God’s time, where a thousand years is as one day (Ps. 90:4).

It is also the case that for some Christians the time on earth seems to be rather long. This is seen most when it comes to keeping faith and hope in the Lord Jesus Christ. Throughout the Christian life there are many influences that aspire to reach and destroy the innocent faith and sow doubts. Jesus knew this from the beginning, as he had seen it beforehand. It is for this reason that he tells the parable of the faithful and wise manager. The story ends with the exhortation: “The master of that servant will come on a day when he does not expect him and at an hour he is not aware of.”

Today we are participating in the last Sunday of the church year, according to the liturgical tradition of many Christian churches. Next Sunday will be the first Sunday of Advent, the beginning of a new cycle in the church year. On this Sunday, also called “Eternity Sunday,” we take care to talk about the last things, particularly about the last times, which, according to the Bible, will take place when God disposes.

When we start talking about last things, the first thing that comes to mind is death, especially our own death. Who has not ever thought about his own death? And as the years pass and we grow older, and we watch loved ones leaving our side, the more we realize that death is real and that it does not only happen to others but can also happen to us at any time. What do we think about our own end? What will happen to my life? Are we perhaps afraid to die? Are we afraid to leave this world or our loved ones? Are we afraid to meet God?

What is our reflection, when we think Jesus is coming soon? What is our current behavior, thinking that Jesus could come at any moment? Though we may die before Jesus comes, what do you think will be Jesus’ view on your life, when he will wake you up?

It is possible to live under a delusion. You think you are kind, considerate and gracious when really you are not. You think you are building positive stuff into your children when in reality, if you could check with them twenty years later, you really didn’t. What if you could read your own obituary? How do people really see you? Here is the story of a man who did.

One morning in 1888 Alfred Nobel, inventor of dynamite, awoke to read his own obituary. The obituary was printed as a result of a simple journalistic error. You see, it was Alfred’s brother that had died and the reporter carelessly reported the death of the wrong brother. Any man would be disturbed under the circumstances, but to Alfred the shock was overwhelming because he saw himself as the world saw him. The “Dynamite King,” the great industrialist who had made an immense fortune from explosives. This, as far as the general public was concerned, was the entire purpose of Alfred’s life. None of his true intentions to break down the barriers that separated men nor his ideas for peace were recognized or given serious consideration. At death he was simply a merchant. And for that alone he would be remembered. As he read the obituary with horror, he resolved to make clear to the world the true meaning and purpose of his life. This could be done through the final disposition of his fortune. His last will and testament–an endowment of five annual prizes for outstanding contributions in physics, chemistry, physiology or medicine, literature, and peace (the sixth category of economics was added later)–would be the expression of his life’s ideals and ultimately would be why we would remember him. The result was the most valuable of prizes given to those who had done the most for the cause of world peace. Today we call it the “Nobel Peace Prize.”

To understand what could be written in your obituary, it is good to observe how you live your life now. Do you live for God or are you living for things that are only important to the world?

There are many who, while professing to believe in God, do not deal with the things that God considers important. And they live in their own way. They only place importance in material matters, neglecting the things that God wants you to watch:

If you have a successful career but a broken home, it was all in vain. You lost your home in the process of building the house.

Some earn for the home, but do not earn at home. Some gain in life but do not earn for life.

They are good for business but cannot maintain a loving relationship or come to forget God in the process. They seek to satisfy their material life but forget to build a lasting relationship with God.

On this day, we think about the last things. Not with fear, sadness, solemnity or depressive spirit. Rather, we think that God gives us wonderful years to be lived. God wants us to enjoy this life that he gives us.  He wants us to enjoy each of the material gifts he allows us to achieve. He wants us to enjoy and take care of our families, but above all things, he wants us to care for his church, his Word and respect him. If we put God first in our lives, not only will he look after us and give us all the other things we crave, but we are also going to be faithful stewards that do not fear but rather love him and we going to be given eternal life.

What would you like to appear tomorrow in your obituary written by God? How do you want God to see you when you depart your present life? Will you look like a faithful or foolish steward?

This parable is not just talking about managing material things or money. This parable is talking about what place God occupies in your life. Where have you placed God in your life’s schedule? To put God first and be a faithful steward means, firstly, that regardless of any circumstance in life, I remain true to his word and his promises. Being a faithful steward means that I believe in God, in His word the Bible and that I have accepted Him as Lord and Savior of my life. Being a faithful steward means that after this life, he will come to fetch me and take me with him to where he lives and that I will receive the reward for believing in him and in his word. Being a steward means I live my life thinking positively, trying to love my neighbors, who are: myself, my family, my church family, my community, any person whom I meet.

Being a steward means I want to keep in touch with God, through my active participation in a church, through prayer and Bible reading and something very important, which is to have a happy mood and be joyful for I trust and believe in the promises of God’s assistance.

If I lose all this and start thinking about anything but not in God, I’m starting to be foolish and unfaithful to God.

No one is forced to be Christian. You can believe whatever you want. But there’s only one being that is good, that is the truth and that keeps his word. That is our Lord Jesus Christ. Why not try to live your life according to Christ? Not only will you be wonderfully surprised in this life, but at the end of time you will receive a reward like no other! In this last Sunday of the church year, we do not talk about death but about life. Do you want to live a life full of life? Do you want to return to a true and eternal life beyond this? Draw near to God and receive Him as your Lord and change those things that may be empty today in your own life. Amen.

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