There is a wonderful story about three student devils who were preparing to go to earth for some on the job training. The teacher asked them what strategy they had decided to use to get people to sin. The first devil said, “I think I’ll use the tried and true approach. I’ll tell the people that there is no
God so they should just enjoy life.” The teacher replied that that approach didn’t work very well because most people knew there was a God. The second devil said, “I think I’ll use a more modern approach. I’ll tell people that there is no hell, so just enjoy life however they want.“ The teacher replied that that might not work very well either because most people believed in some sort of hell. Then the teacher turned to the third devil and asked, “What about you?” The third devil said “I’ll tell them that there is a God and that they will be judged when they die, but that all of that was a long way down the road so they don’t have to worry about it right now.” The teacher was pleased and foresaw great accomplishments for the third devil.
The story reminds me of the words of Jesus to the rich fool who had stored up great wealth for himself and felt he had a secure future. Jesus says, “This very night your soul will be required of you!” (Lk. 12:20) In other words, we cannot put off until another time what should be done today, because tomorrow might never come. The temptations that we will always have time to put things right, to repent, to change our lives, can leave us with a lot of unfinished business before God. As the old saying goes, “I can’t be prepared for death too soon, because I can’t be sure when too soon will be too late.”