End of the world?

The other night, I listened in on a discussion on end times according to the Bible. It was a good one, and the conclusion was apt – get right with God, because Jesus is coming back soon.

The Bible supports this conclusion, although it doesn’t support Harold Camping’s predictions on timing. In fact, the Bible says no one knows when it’ll happen – not even Jesus.

But within the discussion, I sensed a feeling of despair turned into indifference toward the world – as in, this world is heading to the furnace, so let’s just hang on to our faith until Jesus comes back to fix this mess. We know we’re citizens of Heaven, so who cares about this world?

In certain areas, I completely agree with that view. When it comes to materialism and storing up possessions, I’m totally in that camp. Maybe another series of blog posts, but I’m a firm believer in we brought nothing in, we take nothing out, so storing things up for ourselves is folly.

But I also see a danger there – we can turn rejection of the world’s values into rejection of the world as a whole. The world’s dying, but thank God we’re not. People just don’t want to hear about Jesus, so I just won’t tell them. Earth is not home, so why make it better? I don’t believe this is the way God wants us to approach it.

My mind goes to Jeremiah 29. The famous line from this passage is Jeremiah 29:11, which conveys God’s knowledge of our situations and that He’s got a plan. Very comforting verse for those going through rough times, but I think we may sometimes forget the surrounding verses.

God was speaking to the Israelites captive in Babylon. They knew they were away from home. They earnestly wanted to believe that this wouldn’t be forever, and verse 11 reinforces that. But in the verses surrounding that encouragement, we find God’s instructions to the Israelites in their plight.

God says, among other things, to seek the prosperity of the city they find themselves in. You’re right, this isn’t home. You will go back home. This is not forever. But while you’re there, make it better. While you’re there, bring My justice. Bring My love. Bring My hope. Be My ambassadors to the less-than-ideal situation you find yourself in. I know it’s tough. I know it hurts. But this is what I want you to do.

This is the attitude I ask God to renew in me regarding the world. I don’t like it here. A lot of horrible things happen here. I’m going home one day. This isn’t forever. I can’t wait.

But while I’m here, my job is to make it better. To bring God’s kingdom into the world in the ways He enables me. To be a messenger of God’s love to a world dying without it.

Are you willing? Are you ready? Let’s heal the world together.

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