When I was a pastor, I used to preach an annual sermon on the first Sunday of every year in which I recounted all the tragedies and horrors of the previous year, and concluded by saying, “See? All these things prove that the end of the world is near!”
The basic idea was to get people to recommit, to double up in their efforts at faithful attendance and daily Bible study, and to make sure they were “keeping watch” for the return of the bridegroom, so that they were not left out in the dark when He returned.
I would often focus on texts like Matthew 24:6-7 which talks about wars and rumors of wars, and famines and earthquakes as being signs of the end. So we better get ready! The End of the World is Nigh!
I imagine there are lots of such sermons being preached today. 2011 was a great year for dire predictions. And December 21, 2012 already promises to raise more fear and fervor than January 1, 2000 (Y2K), June 6, 2006 (666), July 7. 2007 (777), or May 21 and October 21, 2011 (Harold Camping’s debacle).
Can I issue a call for sanity right now? Please?
Rather than fearing or cheering the arrival of the End of the World, can we all just keep our heads on straight, and keep our heads out of the clouds, and focus instead on living the Gospel by loving and serving others, and making this world better and safer for all of us?
Look at it this way: Let’s say the Mayans were right. Let’s say all the doomsday prophets are right. The world is going to end this year. And for us Christians, this means that Jesus will return.
If Jesus comes, what do you think He would prefer to find you doing? Reading all the books about 2012, and listening to all the doom and gloom sermons, attending all the prayer meetings about the end of the world, and watching the Discovery channel special about Mayan calendars and aliens from space and Egyptian pyramid tunnels, OR loving our neighbors, serving our spouses, teaching our children, working hard at our jobs, and helping where people are hurting?
The answer is clear.
I don’t know what 2012 holds. But I’m pretty sure there will be lots of disappointed Christians next Christmas who didn’t get what they wanted (the return of Jesus on December 21). But rather than secretly smile when I read about earthquakes, famines, floods, and wars because these are signs of the end, I will do what I can to alleviate the pain and suffering of others, for this is how we truly live out the prayer of “Maranatha – Come, Lord Jesus.”
You want Jesus to return? While you are waiting, let Him return in you today.