So, what if the Mayans are right? What if December 21—that’s Friday, you know—is doomsday, the last day for planet earth? Are you ready?
Well, relax. There’s a good deal of disagreement about whether the Mayans predicted the end of the world or just a new cycle for the world. The Mayans believed history was cyclical, not linear. Cyclical history doesn’t lend itself to definite endings but to new beginnings. And even if the Mayans have predicted a definite end to the world on Friday, fear not. The Mayans won’t be any more correct on their guess than have the hundreds of others across the centuries who have named this date or that date as the end of the world as we know it. How many misled Christians have prognosticated the second coming of Jesus on a particular date, only to be proven wrong every time? I suspect more than we can count.
The Scripture says in more than one place that no one knows the date of the end except God. Period. Not a prophet. Not preacher. Not a Mayan. Not even the smartest man or woman in the world. Only God. And I can’t imagine that God would ever honor anyone’s prediction by drawing things to close on that date. Such a person would be insufferable in eternity: “It was me! I’m the one! I got it right! I got it right!” Please.
But just because we don’t know an exact date doesn’t mean we can’t live in light of that day in this day. According to Stephen Covey, one of the seven habits of highly effective people is to “begin with the end in mind.” That’s a good idea for Christ-followers too. Live today in the light the last day. Do you remember how you felt when you put off studying for that test or preparing that paper until the last minute? It’s called “cramming.” You didn’t feel so confident about outcomes, did you? Well, if you want to feel confident about being prepared for the last day, live this day in light of that last day. Prepare now.
If the end is this week, are you prepared? National Geographic recently did a national survey about doomsday scenarios. Among the results, 62% believed we’re likely to experience a “major disaster” in the next twenty years, and 85% admit that they are not ready for it should it come. An even more interesting question asked respondents what they would do the night before they thought the world would end. Here are the three highest answers: 27% would resolve a family feud; 24% would have sex; and 20% would stock up on resources (although I imagine the shelves might be empty if they wait till the night before the end to do their shopping).
What would you do if the end was this Friday? Could I encourage you to live every day as if the end was the next day: live in peace with God today; work for harmony in your relationships today; share the love of Christ with people today; spend time with God today; do your best on the job today; enjoy life today; glorify God today. Every one of those things is a good thing. Why wait till the very end to put such things into practice? Live this day in light of the last day. Don’t try to cram it all in at the end. Who needs the angst?
I heard about a devoted follower of Jesus who was tending his garden one day when a friend asked him what he’d do if this was his last day on earth. “Well,” he said, “the first thing I’d do is finish my gardening.” There’s a man who’s prepared, a man who lives each day in light of the last day. I want to be that man. Do you?
By the way, NASA has even weighed in on this craziness. You can find a story about that here: