What would you do, if you knew the world would end tomorrow?

December 17, 2023

Luther would plant a tree

There is a quote, most likely apocryphal, attributed to Martin Luther which says, “Even if I knew that tomorrow the world would go to pieces, I would still plant my apple tree.” I have been pondering this for days, wondering about its significance.

How would you spend your last 24 hours if you knew there was an asteroid heading towards earth and death was all but certain?

Would you keep on doing the small but important things?

The one thing we can know is that you will respond according to your beliefs and character, but your reaction will be amplified due to stress.

Don't be discouraged?

I may not have understood all its theological implications, but I love its simple message of hope. Regardless of what is going on in the world, we should just keep on, going on.

We are to work and march to a different drumbeat.

While everyone is running around with their hair on fire, we do not live in a spirit of fear, but with a spirit of expectancy. God put us here in this month and year to do what he put us here to do.

You are probably not here to solve world hunger, but you are here to wake up tomorrow with a good attitude and do the hard and uninteresting chores of life to the best of your ability.

The relentlessness of life

I struggle with the relentless and cyclical nature of life, but a switch has flicked in my head. There is nothing I can do about it. I’m going to embrace the suck and make the most of the seemingly inconsequential details of the day. While my heart demands greatness .........which is pride; faithfulness must be my response.

As my eyes open each morning, I’m speaking out words of gratitude to God that he has given me yet another opportunity to get this day right. To be more patient, more loving, more joyful and more productive.

But doing today right doesn’t happen by accident. It must be planned on paper and fertilised by prayer.

What must Luther do today if he wants to plant a tree tomorrow?

So if Luther, regardless of the circumstances, was going to plant his apple tree tomorrow, what would he need to do today?

First thing he would do is turn off all social media and distractions!

He would seek out his shovel and fertiliser in preparation for the morrow.

He would walk into his garden and, while admiring its beauty, would find the perfect spot for his tree.

Then, he would schedule in a time to plant it.

Get your shovel and find your spot for the tree

I recently heard someone say, "I’m pessimistic about the future but I’m optimistic for me and my family". I think this is a useful way to think.

We should be defensive in terms of our approach for life because the world is unpredictable and especially when you have corrupt leaders making rubbish decisions, there will be trouble ahead.

However, we need to live above the noise and we do this by doing our duty in the corner you were put. Don’t let emotion or distraction stop you from doing the next right or moral thing. Plan out your days and get to work. Stay busy.

I recently heard someone say, "I’m pessimistic about the future but I’m optimistic for me and my family". I think this is a useful way to think.

The fable of the tortoise and the hare

Some people find this easy because they are natural plodders and if we think of the fable of the tortoise and the hare. I’m a hare. 100%.

I have probably lost more races than I won, but I’m learning that while I have the power for great sprints, I shouldn’t take the foot of the pedal to catch my breath, except for carefully planned pit stops. I must keep shuffling onward.

There are always fences to repair and new seed that needs planted.

How am I putting this principle into action?

I have always had a 'to-do-list', but each night I’m forcing myself to write a short reflective paragraph on the day. It is a 5 minute job listing some wins, but the old frustrations remain and they can’t be ignored. They must be neutralised. Where before, I was content to drift into the new day, I’m planning it now and thinking about my “danger zones”, and how to keep the wagon trundling forward.

Don’t be discouraged and get lazy

My last point is that we must not be discouraged because we never plant a tree for ourselves but for our grandchildren.

If we get discouraged and become lazy, we lay up problems for the future. We must get into productive, thoughtful action every single day. Not busy mindless action, but carefully thought through activity. We must sow good seed every day.

Here’s the thing: even the best seed we scatter might not grow. Despite labouring in obedience and righteousness there still may be no harvest but we shouldn’t give up, as we do not know what efforts, it will please God to bless and when He may choose to bless it.

Let us live each day as we know we should. Let us not tire of discipline, course correction and giving our best.

Where will you plant your tree tomorrow?

Main image from flickr


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