Is there anything that isn’t more important than ever? I ask that partly as a tongue-in-cheek question and partly as an honest inquiry. Because I hear that phrase used a lot in conjunction with mental health, getting flu shots, and various other aspects of life. As if those things were somehow less important in the past than they are now. I don’t think that’s necessarily true. But I do think that there is something deeper the statement “more important than ever” is hinting at.
What if we are living at a point in history when the stakes really are higher than they’ve ever been? What if everything has been building up to a moment in the not-too-distant future when those words will either come back to haunt us or justify us?
Lessons from This Is the End
I recently watched a movie called This Is the End, which is about a bunch of Hollywood actors who get trapped in James Franco’s mansion as the world is ending all around them. One night, while Franco is throwing a big party, all the good people in the world suddenly get pulled up into heaven in a bright light. They have led good lives, and they are welcomed into heaven. However, no one at Franco’s party even notices that anything out of the ordinary has happened at first because they are all unabashed drug addicts, narcissists, and fornicators. Not a single one of them was taken up to heaven. Their goal was earthly pleasures, not heavenly rewards.
Over the course of the film, the survivors begin to realize that they need to repent and be better to make it into heaven. But they don’t really make any major changes in their lives. They mostly just try to sacrifice themselves for each other, which, while noble, doesn’t undo all the horrible things they’ve done up to now. It’s a deathbed-repentance mentality. And once they get to heaven, they’re excited to be able to continue acting immorally for all eternity. It’s a very shallow view of what lies on the other side.
In their case, these actors thought it was more important than ever to actually do at least one good thing. And it’s only at the end of their lives when they’re forced to make that choice. They would have been perfectly happy to continue on their merry way engaging in all sorts of debauchery to the end of their days, except for the inconvenience that the End of Days is upon them.
I recommend that we humble ourselves, feel after God, and do our best to prepare for hard times long before they actually come. We shouldn’t have to wait until the world around us becomes a fiery landscape of doom before we repent. And we certainly shouldn’t treat this process flippantly or as if we just want to be good enough in a single moment to warrant heaven so we can go back to being our true awful selves. That’s hypocrisy.
If anything, This Is the End gave me a sad glimpse into the unhappy lives of Hollywood elites. They all joke about being horrible people, but I think they really mean it. The party at the beginning was full of drugs, alcohol, and unmarried sex. Not my idea of a good time. And that’s the best they have to offer.
What if the actors had all learned that their day of grace had passed? What if they had all been denied a second chance at redemption? What if they had to pay the price for all their sins and actually change their ways and their nature before heaven would open up to them? Maybe if they had been forced to own up to their past misdeeds, they might have been truly humbled. Instead, they’re just looking for an easy out. I suppose that’s a common human frailty. We’re all tempted to choose the path of least resistance.
The Most Important Moment
Let’s bring it back to my original question. Is there anything that isn’t more important than ever? If this were truly the end, what could be more important than being good? What if this is the only mortal life we get, and it’s up to us to show what’s more important to us than anything else? While we’re here, we have an opportunity to demonstrate our true character.
I’m not perfect, and I fully admit I have flaws. For me, every moment is a chance to improve, learn from my mistakes, and be the man I’d like to be. It’s not that today is more important than yesterday. But I have control of what I do today, while every day in the past is already set in stone. In that way, what I do now is more important than ever because it’s the product of all the experiences leading up to it. I have a chance to put into practice what I’ve learned over the years. But all of those earlier experiences were equally as important in helping me become who I am today.
Perhaps we live in an unprecedented time. The world has never been so overflowing with technology and communication. I feel like things are moving faster and faster toward an ultimate confrontation. Not just between good and evil people, but between good and evil, period. So even though it’s always been important to be good, as the end draws near, I think we’ll be grateful if we spent our days doing good. When the time comes to answer for our choices, we’ll find that it was never more important to choose the right than every time we had the opportunity. After all, being better will never be more important to us than the moment we discover it’s too late to change.
This is the Deja Reviewer bidding you farewell until we meet again.
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If you’d like to support the Deja Reviewer, please consider donating a few dollars to keep this site going strong. I’ll even send you an original joke if you do! Try it, and prepare to enjoy a good chuckle.