The incredible life of a Last Day Leader
INsights 041, Friday 19th May 2023
The incredible life of a Last Day Leader
INsights 041, Friday 19th May 2023
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Assalamu-alaikum. Peace be upon you.
Ten days ago, I started a poll on my Telegram channel with a probing question. Take a moment to ponder the question and consider how you would respond.
I haven’t been able to stop thinking about the results.
You see, they reveal something that is very worrying: the vast majority of respondents – 82% in this case – who believe that death will be followed by resurrection, accountability and judgement are, by their own admission, considerably failing to live in preparation for all that is to come:
We know that our eternities depend on what we do in this life, but we admit that our current actions aren’t best preparing us for the outcome that we want.
We know that death can come at any time, but we live as though we have all the time in the world.
We know that our Lord is perfectly within His rights to ask us about any aspect of the way in which we use our time, energy, skills, networks, resources and opportunities, but we don’t subject our usage of them to enough of our own scrutiny in readiness for the divine scrutiny that is imminent.
How do we break free from our heedlessness?
How do we move to a new plane of conscious living?
How do we avoid the regrets that are inevitable if we continue to use our time in ways which we would change dramatically if we knew for sure that our last day on earth was a lot closer than we think?
Having endlessly pondered all these questions, and only more and more intensely over time, my answer is this: we each need to make a determined effort to become a Last Day Leader.
The concept of the Last Day Leader is one that derives from everything that I have learned so far about God and His revelation.
The need for all of us to become such a person derives both from what I understand to be the purpose of our existence as well as what I broadly see as our context, namely the desperate state and moral degradation of the societies in which we live.
A Last Day Leader is someone who leads every day in preparation for the Last Day, living as a true believer and striving for God’s cause.
Let’s break it down into two parts: Last Day and Leader.
First, last day.
This has a dual implication of course.
It indicates that a person maintains a very high awareness of their mortality, their last day on this earth. They know that time is not on their side. So they act with a deep sense of urgency.
But they are neither hasty nor desperate. This is because – and here’s where the second implication comes in – they know that death doesn’t represent the end at all; it’s only a transition to the Last Day.
They know that preparing for their accountability means directing their energy and urgency in a way that is sensible given that they will meet their Maker and have to explain their decisions. So they remain focused and responsible.
Once the full implications of death and the hereafter are internalised, the aspiring believer’s thoughts inevitably turn to making choices that are totally consistent with this worldview.
Part of this is not wanting to be ordinary or mediocre, simply because neither God nor paradise are ordinary or mediocre. For God who is the greatest, and for the greatest abode, we must surely put in our greatest effort.
Hence the second component, leadership.
It’s possible you might have a negative association with the idea of leadership. Many people do. But if leadership is understood in the context of our worldview as believers, then a leader represents the peak of who you are meant to become.
Don’t think of leadership in terms of position. Think of it in terms of influence.
Don’t think of leadership in parallel to private acts of worship. Think of it as something that emerges from, builds on, and relies upon, your remembrance, prayer and engagement with revelation.
Don’t think of leadership in secular terms. Think of it in a God-centred framework.
In this framework, leadership is to involve oneself in actions and initiatives that result in facilitating and promoting people’s journeys along the straight path.
This is why the prophets were the best of leaders. If they are our role models, then we too must aspire to lead, not for fame or glory or wealth, or any of the trappings of this world, but for God and His priorities, His agenda, His cause.
Just as there is no god worthy of your worship except for God, there is no cause worthy of your service like God's cause.
The society in which you live is simply an arena where there is an ongoing battle between truth and falsehood, between good and evil, between righteousness and corruption.
That arena awaits your commitment, your conscious and concerned involvement.
Bearing in mind your last day in this life and the Last Day in the next life, how long can you watch from the side-lines before you realise that you too must enter the arena with everything that you have at your disposal?
How long will you deliberate before you understand that you will only realise the very best version of yourself when you commit wholeheartedly to the highest and noblest of all causes?
I know that even thinking about aspiring to this standard is daunting, let alone doing anything about it and figuring out how to transition from the status quo to the ideal.
Seen from afar, it can seem like a hard life, maybe even a miserable or gloomy one.
But, even though there is much struggle and sacrifice along the way, the journey of aspiring to become a Last Day Leader makes for an incredible life, one of beauty, fulfilment and joy.
What greater ecstasy can there be of living fully, of becoming and being the person who you believe in your heart of hearts you were created and born to be?
Of experiencing a true sense of adventure, inwardly and outwardly? Of always looking to renew and reinvent yourself for the next challenge?
Of engaging with and learning from other like-minded people, never subjecting yourself to anyone else’s expectations or demands, unless they align with those of God Himself?
Of feeling God’s Hand so closely involved in the micro and macro affairs of your life? Of feeling that He’s showing you the way in real time as you journey on the path to Him?
These are the experiences that money can’t buy in this life.
These are the experiences that help you fly into paradise.
In addition to these personal benefits, there is the profound effect you can have on the lives of others. Knowing that, with God’s help, you have helped someone along in their own journey to Him is supremely motivating and satisfying. No type of influence or impact really compares.
When asked how much their planned usage of time over the next year would change if they knew for a fact that they would die in three years, the one on the path to becoming a Last Day Leader would respond with ‘Slightly differently’… and the one who’s already there would respond with ‘No differently’… not because of arrogance but actually because of the humility that they’ve already been displaying in adapting themselves to deal with the question before anyone else even asks them.
They’re already ready, or close to being ready, to pass from this life and meet their Lord.
By this point, if you feel a sense of alignment to what has preceded, you’re likely to be wondering where you should start, or perhaps worrying about the implications of it all.
For now, trust me when I say that it’s not the process that matters as much as the level of seriousness with which you really want to go on this journey.
Yes, you need to know the “how” but you don’t need to know the “how” before you’ve fully understood and committed yourself to the “why”, meaning the very concept and idea of the Last Day Leader.
So let this all germinate or marinate, depending on which analogy you prefer!
I’ll conclude with this.
As I was thinking about how best to convey the concept of the Last Day Leader, it occurred to me to think of the opposite. If being a Last Day Leader represents what’s best and what’s extraordinary, what represents what’s worst or perhaps simply ordinary?
Say hello to the unfortunate Present Day Follower.
This is someone who struggles to look up and see far beyond the grind of their present day. They might subscribe in some theoretical way to notions of accountability and judgement one day long into the future but it’s not currently top of mind. They’ll deal with all that later, tomorrow, one day. At present, they can’t really connect the dots between what they’re involved in right now and what they claim to believe will inevitably happen.
Whether they admit it or not, huge aspects of their daily motivations and actions are driven by their worldly desires and the expectations of others. If a god is something that becomes the principle reason for one’s motivations and actions, then they have taken on many gods besides God.
They don’t crush their fears, they are crushed by them. They don’t influence or mould, they are influenced and moulded. They don’t swim against the current, they are washed away with the current.
Rather than being prepared, they risk being shocked by death, shocked by accountability and shocked by their final outcome.
For me, the fear of being such a person and the hope of being a Last Day Leader come together to help build the love that I have for my Lord and my labour of love for Him.
Going forward, my labour of love – my mission – is to develop, support and connect Last Day Leaders: people leading every day in preparation for the Last Day, living as true believers and striving for God’s cause.
Do you want to be one of them?
If so, once you’ve clicked one of the options below to give your feedback, let me know more about your aspirations in the comments box that pops up.
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Have a blessed fortnight. I'll see you in two Fridays, God willing.