It seems that life is filled with deadlines. Nowadays people typically we use the term “deadline” to refer to a specific day or time when a task must be completed. In construction we lived daily by deadlines, our bids and all phases of the work needing to be completed within a definite time frame. Applications for college, returning library books and rented tools all have deadlines. Even going to the movies requires that we meet a deadline, after all the movie is going to start whether or not you are in your seat with your popcorn. One of the most famous deadlines in he United States occurs every April 15th, the day when we have to have our income tax returns filed or you can potentially face some serious penalties.

Where did the term “deadline” come from and why refer to a specific date in such an ominous way?” This phrase seems to have first came into popular use because of the Civil war, the deadliest war in all U.S. history. The Confederate forces erected Camp Andersonville to house prisoners of war, a camp built with walls made of standing logs 20 feet high. Seventeen feet from the interior of the wall a shallow ditch was dug, and any prisoner who crossed that line, whether intentionally or not, was shot on the spot without warning by a guard posted in roosts on top of the wall. The shallow ditch became known as the “deadline,” a point that could not be crossed without mortal consequence.

While it is true that life is full of deadlines, the greatest deadline of all is the one that happens when a person takes their last breath. Once that line is crossed there are no second chances, no more time for the “should haves,” “could haves,” or “would haves.” As thousands of counterfeits vie for our attention, we should always be aware that there is a genuine deadline that exists and once it is crossed all the wealth and treasure s of this world will mean nothing. On that day the only thing that counts are the treasures and stores we have laid up above.