For years, people have tried to predict the end of the world. Obviously, to this point, no one has gotten it right. Yet here we are again in 2012, and the predictions are as big as ever. As has happened with other “end of the world” predictions, people in 2012 will freak out and have panic attacks and count down the hours. You can click here to check out a countdown clock and post one on your Facebook wall. They’ve even got 2012 supplies you can buy! (Really? If the world is going to end, do we really need supplies?)
Jesus and the disciples were having a conversation one day about the “end times.” (You can read it for yourself here in Mark 13.) Jesus uses some weird imagery and talks about some signs that the disciples can look for, and then ends with this statement:
“But nobody knows when that day or hour will come, not the angels in heaven and not the Son. Only the Father knows.” (Mark 13:32 CEB)
In the midst of all the talk about 2012, I can picture Jesus saying, “But nobody knows when that day or hour will come…except those Mayans! How did they figure that out?!?!”
What will undoubtedly happen as the end of 2012 approaches is that there will be people who are convinced the end is near and they’ll decide to take full advantage of the last days, they’ll make decisions to change their lives, and they’ll try to repair broken relationships. They’ll want to make the most of every day they have left. They’ll be generous with their stuff because they’ll believe their material things don’t matter nearly as much if the world is coming to an end. They’ll be more giving with their time and resources, trying to help other people enjoy their last days too.
It seems to me that this is what Jesus is trying to get his followers to do every day. Jesus is essentially saying, “Hey, you have no idea when the last day is going to be for you or anybody else, so make sure you’re ready now.” Followers of Jesus need to be asking themselves these questions every day, not just in the waning moments of some artificial countdown clock. If I’m not guaranteed another day, what changes do I need to make to my life today? What relationships are broken that I need to repair today? From whom do I need to ask forgiveness today? Who do I need to forgive today? What can I be generous with today? Who can I serve today? If I’m not guaranteed tomorrow, what should I do to make the most of today?
2012 will come and go, and 2012 should be the end: the end of fake predictions and unnecessary fears about things outside of our control. But 2012 can also be the beginning: the beginning of living to the fullest potential of who God created us to be, and who Jesus calls us to be, with every day and every moment.
God, guide and inspire me to take full advantage of every moment you’ve given me, loving and serving other people to my fullest potential, so that I can be fully prepared in every moment no matter what may come.