the Most of the Present Time
by Carlos Mantica
Any ordinary day you just wake up feeling
exhausted. It must be the flu, you think, and so
you stay in bed in order to get well sooner. But
one whole week goes by and the sickness does not
go. You call the doctor, and when he finishes
examining you, you can notice heís very worried.
He examines you once again, sends samples to the
lab, and finally calls a doctorsí meeting. He
finally tells you the truth: you have a very
strange disease that has no cure. Very little is
known about it. No one even knows what the
symptoms will be in the future, but one thing is
certain: it is fatal. You have just a few weeks
of life left.
Those of us who know the Master and trust in him
have no fear of the final examination. We do not
despair, but our life is not the same any more.
We only have a few weeks left. How are we going
to use them? Things that even yesterday seemed
important to us now seem trivial--long-term
investments, the book I was planning to write,
the trip to Europe, the earthquake insurance,
the cottage by the beach... We now ask
ourselves: Whom do I need to forgive? Who are
those who do not yet know how much I love them?
Who do I need to ask forgiveness
I soon experience a new desire to pray. Itís not
that I want to earn heaven with prayers, because
the price of heaven has already been paid for
me. I just want to talk. I have many things to
ask the Lord, many things to tell him. Things I
had not thought about before, such as, Lord,
what color are your eyes? Where will you be at
the moment of my leap into the vacuum? Do Erwin
and the others already know Iím coming? Do you
think they will lend me Georgeís
air-conditioned, outboard-motor cloud for my
heavenly tour? What would you like me to do
today? Give my wife a lot of strength!
How different everything looks now... What a
fortune to have a community and a family such as
I have! How ridiculous the five-year plans of
the new government, the latest Toyota model and
the Christmas lottery ticket! My life is now all
different... itís the same, but at the same time
itís completely different from what it was
before. Itís as if somebody had given me a new
pair of eyes to see things. Nothing is new, but
everything is much clearer.
Suddenly, something happens that no one was
expecting. When you had already resigned to your
fate, a specialist suddenly comes around who
tells you that a drug now exists (although itís
still being tested) that will not cure you, but
that will extend your life for some time. You
can carry on a normal life, without pains, work
as you did before, do things as always. But...
when death comes, it will come unexpectedly.
You take the drug and, in fact, all pain
disappears. You rise from your bed and begin to
lead a normal life. Everything is the same,
except you now know that death will come without
notice and is not too far away.
Brothers and sisters in Christ, this is no tale.
It is the diagnosis for all that will read this.
We are all suffering from an innate disease on
account of which we are condemned to die sooner
or later. And the Lord will come like a thief in
the night. Itís as that poster of the hippies
used to say, ďToday is the first day of the rest
of your life.Ē
The question is, how are we going to live that
rest of our lives? The way we lived before the
doctor told us the truth, or the way we began to
live when the Lord gave us new eyes to see
things from the perspective of a near death and
an eternal life?
Only the symptoms have disappeared. We continue
to be condemned to death. The day of graduation
is near. We are not worried about the final
examination; even now we are longing for that
face-to-face encounter with the Master, and we
are imagining the tremendous party after the
graduation ceremony, with the presence of all
the alumni. But... we have to make the most of
the present time, for the day of the Lord is now
article is adapted from the book, From
Egghead to Birdhood (hatch or rot as a
Christian), (c) copyright 2001 Carlos
Mantica. Used with permission.
Carlos Mantica is a
founder of The
City of God community (La
Cuidad de Dios) in Managua,
Nicaragua, and a founding leader
of the Sword
of the Spirit. He served as
president of the Sword of the
Spirit between 1991 and 1995.
by (c) Smileus at bigstock.com