There's been a LOT of talk in many different circles about the end of the world recently. What am I talking about? There CONTINUES to be a lot of talk about the end of the world. People have been proclaiming and predicting the earth's demise since, well... suffice it to say that as far back as historians can remember, there's been talk of it. I've read articles that people believed World War I was the beginning of the end...then we had World War II and people were convinced that it was definitely the end of the world. We actually have a book on our bookshelf that claims the world was going to end in 1994. There have been groups that have been camped out on mountains or in compounds convinced that the end is coming on a specific day. I forget the group, but there was some group that believed the Lord would return in May of 2011. I remember that they even had a billboard up in our area telling people to watch out because the world was going to end. When it didn't happen, the leader said that it would happen in October. I don't think many people paid attention to what he said after it didn't happen in October, because I never heard an update after that. It is now 2012 and we're dealing with the fact that the Mayan calendar ends and therefore the world will end on 12/21/2012. People that know I'm a Christian have asked me what I think of all this. They probably expect me to hold to some position one way or another and honestly, I don't. And, I have no problem admitting that. I hold to a very simple belief: No one is guaranteed tomorrow. For that matter, we aren't even guaranteed the rest of today, or even our next breath. Each day and each breath are gifts from God that shouldn't be squandered. And yet, as I type that, I am convicted over all the moments and days that I have taken for granted and spent without much thought or purpose. When people ask me about what I believe I share Matthew 24:36: "But concerning that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father only" and 1 Thessalonians 5:2 "For you yourselves are fully aware that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night." I tell them that it is not for me to know the day and hour, that no one knows. I tell them that what I am to do is be prepared for it to happen at anytime. In Acts 1, Luke tells us "Then they gathered around him and asked him, “Lord, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel?”
7 He said to them: “It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority. 8 But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”
9 After he said this, he was taken up before their very eyes, and a cloud hid him from their sight.
10 They were looking intently up into the sky as he was going, when suddenly two men dressed in white stood beside them. 11 “Men of Galilee,” they said, “why do you stand here looking into the sky? This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen him go into heaven.” The lesson I learn from this last verse is that I shouldn't spend this life, this gift from God, sitting around waiting for His return. However, in Matthew 25:1-10 Jesus tells a parable of how I should live: 1 “At that time the kingdom of heaven will be like ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. 2 Five of them were foolish and five were wise. 3 The foolish ones took their lamps but did not take any oil with them. 4 The wise ones, however, took oil in jars along with their lamps. 5 The bridegroom was a long time in coming, and they all became drowsy and fell asleep.
6 “At midnight the cry rang out: ‘Here’s the bridegroom! Come out to meet him!’
7 “Then all the virgins woke up and trimmed their lamps. 8 The foolish ones said to the wise, ‘Give us some of your oil; our lamps are going out.’
9 “‘No,’ they replied, ‘there may not be enough for both us and you. Instead, go to those who sell oil and buy some for yourselves.’
10 “But while they were on their way to buy the oil, the bridegroom arrived. The virgins who were ready went in with him to the wedding banquet.
I should live expecting His return at any time and yet not waste the life He has given to me.
If you notice, and maybe this is where you and I may differ, I equate the end of the world with the return of my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. This belief gives me hope for the future - what that future will specifically entail, I have no idea and I have no problem with that. I look forward to what He has in store. My prayer is that you share this hope.
Sorry....I didn't mean to get "preachy" but I believe in this so strongly and I've had too many conversations about this to think that it isn't on everyone's minds this new year.