Thursday, December 31, 2009

10 years ago

--we weren't just saying 'Happy New Year', or 'Happy New Decade' or even 'Happy New Century'. No, it was 'Happy New Millennium', even though technically the millennium didn't start until January 1, 2001.

--we were holding our breath, worried to no end about Y2K.

Not only the prophets of doom were wondering if we would make it. Even the more optimistic types weren't sure what might be hiding just around the corner.

Well, we've made it another 10 years.
Sure, we've had some major disasters in the last decade. Like the December 26, 2004 tsunami killing 230,000+. Or earthquakes in Kashmir (86,000), China (70,000), Iran, (30,000), India, (20,000), several heat waves, and a cyclone. War, disease and famine continue to plague the planet—and many of these deaths could be averted if we put our time, money, and energy into helping instead of fighting.

OK, so the world is a disaster, so let's just give up. (Would you have been surprised if I ended this post here?)

So why are some people happy when they can find one more tie-in between prophecy and current events that points to a soon end-of-the-world? Why are they so quick to give up?
Do we really think that is God's way of looking at things? Is he that anxious to see everything fall apart? Is he as willing to concede defeat as we seem to be?

Or does he still want to see His kingdom come?

Is he wanting us to climb to the top of the nearest mountain and wait for the end, or to be as involved as possible in bringing his kingdom into being?
Matthew 24 and 25 give Jesus' sermon about the end of the world. There is lots of imagery, and the first section really seems to point to something that occured within a few decades. The whole sermon contains many references to being prepared because we don't know when the end will be. But there is no call to sit back and wait for it. Actually, the opposite is true.

The story about the young ladies and the lamps shows us it might be later than we are ready for. Think about that one.

The story about the guy who gave money to 3 of his servants shows us that going out on a limb to use our abilities is more valued than hiding them and waiting for him to return.

Then he starts talking about sorting people into two groups. To one group he says: 'I was hungry and you fed me, I was thirsty and you gave me a drink, I was homeless and you gave me a room, I was shivering and you gave me clothes, I was sick and you stopped to visit, I was in prison and you came to me.'
To the other group he says: 'I was hungry and you gave me no meal, I was thirsty and you gave me no drink, I was homeless and you gave me no bed, I was shivering and you gave me no clothes, Sick and in prison, and you never visited.'

Now, what do YOU think Jesus wants us to be doing? (Particularly for those who spend a lot of time thinking about the end of the world, but even for those people who don't.)

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