C.S. Lewis wrote an essay called “The World’s Last Night.” He began with a reminder of the Christian promise of Christ’s return. He continues with encouragement and arguments for continuing to remember this promise that Jesus gave his disciples. A lesson Lewis draws is that one “should never give all his heart to anything which will end when his life ends.”
What is so hauntingly beautiful is his picture of the world’s last night. The great deeds begun, carried on, planned will now no longer be fulfilled, as Christ returns to claim his own. The earthly deeds remain forever unfinished.
Does this mean they are meaningless? Lewis points to Jesus’ story of the workers laboring at their tasks as their master had commanded them to do until his return. No matter that our tasks remain unfinished, Lewis says: “you were at your post when the inspection came.”
The words give meaning in a world that seems devoid of it. We have clear, concise commands as to how we should live. That is our guide. The results, whatever they are, are up to God, as is his timing of events.
Ann Gaylia O'Barr, author of Singing in Babylon, Searching for Home, Quiet Deception, Distant Thunder and A Sense of Mission (all OakTara), was a Foreign Service Officer in the United States Department of State from 1990 to 2004. Assignments included tours in U.S. embassies and consulates in Saudi Arabia (Jeddah and Dhahran), Algeria, Canada, Tunisia, and Washington, D.C. (Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration and Bureau of Intelligence and Research).