I recently watched an interview of Neil deGrasse Tyson by Larry King (see link below).
I personally find Dr. Tyson to be delightful and interesting. His personality is winsome. His answers to Larry’s questions were fascinating, but I particularly took interest at what took place at the end of the interview. King brought of the concept of fearing non-existence (both men are atheists). Tyson replied:
“It is the knowledge that I am going to die that creates the focus that I bring to being alive. The urgency of accomplishment, the need to express love now, not later. If we live forever, why ever even get out of bed in the morning? Because you always have tomorrow. That’s not the kind of life I want to lead.”
After Larry King asked him if he feared “not being around,” Tyson answered:
“I fear living a life where I could have accomplished something and didn’t. That’s what I fear. I don’t fear death.”
Don’t you appreciate his vulnerability?! I sure do! I also find his comments insightful. As a Christian, however, my perspective on both living and dying is in conflict with that described by Dr. Tyson. The facts that I will indeed live forever and that I will face God upon my death serve as important impetuses for my accomplishments as well as my expression of love to those around me.
My mission statement is short, but has profound implications for my present.
Prepare for Eternity
Tomorrow is important. The future awaits. But that unrealized and certain hope does not negate my calling today. Why did I get out of bed this morning? Because I have a mission to complete over the next twenty-four hours! The primary purpose for my existence is to glorify God. To a point, that happens without any effort on my part. Yet, it is also something I consciously do (and I wish I did more consistently). Jesus told me to let my light so shine before men that they might see my good works and glorify my Father who is in heaven (Mt. 5:16). He was also very specific (as were the authors of the entire New Testament) that I seek to bless others (Matthew 5:43-48; Romans 12:14). Whatever the context in which I find myself, I am to prove to be a good Samaritan (Luke 10:25-37). Finally, I need to live each day with the knowledge that I will “be around” forever. What I do today matters. And that makes this day as important as tomorrow.