“But concerning that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father only.” – Matthew 24:36 ESV
Many people seem to have a morbid fascination with the end of the world. We love fantasizing about all the ways civilization might meet its end. Christians seem to almost lead this pack, including a steady stream of end time predictions and bestselling fiction. I propose that our continual morbid craving for the apocalypse has infected our culture, our beliefs, and our actions in such a way as to rob us of our power to change the world.
In my own community, I remember noticing what was almost more disappointment than relief when we woke up on January 1st, 2000 to the same world as the day before. “What, not even a little chaos?!?” The failing of Y2K to bring even a power grid down caused some to even have a crisis of faith. How much have we handicapped ourselves, and Christ for that matter, by living in constant anticipation of oblivion?
Checking Out Early
Because we constantly view this world through the lens of looking for evidence of imminent and irreversible destruction, we are missing out on opportunities to improve it. Yes, this world has a lot of problems, but it has also come a long way. Remember that in our past we have owned slaves, had legal segregation, even killed each other by thousands in a civil war. It makes me laugh when people say, “the good old days.” What particular time period are we nostalgic for?
The problems we face today are not evidence of our doom, they are opportunities to show Christ to the world. The problems we have overcome are not evidence of our corruption, but of our potential to change. Christians looking for the end are checking out early. The fields are vast, and the workers are few.
A Community Instead of a Cult
The power of the Gospel is for growing and building communities who can lift each other up, serve each other, and be a witness of Christ in the world. Only cults think in terms of “leaving the world behind.” We are the salt and light of the world, we don’t leave it behind, we preserve it and illuminate it.
End time theories and fantasies, such as the famous Left Behind series, have turned many of us into “tinfoil hat” paranoid conspiracy theorists. Instead of taking political movements and changes at face value, we inject them with Satanic subplots and hidden agendas. We literally demonize and demagogue those we do not agree with, accusing them of dark motives instead of allowing for reasonable dialog from different points of view.
The Problem of Prophecy
The greatest mistake humanity has always had with prophecy is that what we think is important is not necessarily what is important to God. We think nations, leaders, boundaries, and policies are important, but Heaven values ideas, cultures, and a baby born in a stable who never had any power as we define it. In the end, all the prophecy in Scripture is probably about events we may not even notice at the time.
What If We Are Responsible?
Scriptures promise a new heaven and new earth, but what if it is a promise of what the Church, the Bride of Christ is working toward? We think God is just going to burn everything down and rebuild it for us. What if the Church is the method building that world? The world today is already much better than world Christ came into. What if the “end” is really just our completed work, and Christ’s completed work in us. What if the new beginning isn’t a punishment, but a reward?
Pascal’s Wager Add’l
The french philosopher, Pascal, made the point that believing in God is logical because if you’re wrong, you lose nothing. If an atheist is wrong, they have a lot to lose. I say the same about the end of the world. If I am wrong, and the world does end in an apocalypse, the pursuit of a better world would drive us to serve Christ and serve others, instead of checking out early saying “it’s all just doomed anyway.” If we thought we could build a new world, how much more motivated would we be? After all…
“Blessed is that servant whom his master will find so doing when he comes.” – Matthew 24:46 ESV
Yaholo Hoyt is a practical mystic, a passionate writer, a paltry poet, and an old-school Jesus freak. You can find him at http://yaholo.net or read his blog at http://practicalchristianmysticism.blogspot.com
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