Saturday, May 28, 2011

The End of the World

      Closely related to those who predict the return of the Lord Jesus are those who predict catastrophic series of events which will end life as we know it. Whether it is the collapse of the stock market, the bulging number of retirees coming online as the Baby Boom gets older, the crises in the Middle East and the resulting rising prices in oil (which will also, of course, cause food prices to skyrocket out of sight and riots to occur both overseas and in America because of the lack of food . . . You have heard all this, haven’t you?”)  Henny Penny, Chicken Little and Turkey Lurkey are in various forms busy running telling us that the sky is absolutely and certainly falling!  For what it’s worth, here are some thoughts about this oft-repeated phenomenon.

1.  Those who major on this theme are usually taking advantage of people’s fear and uncertainty. We do indeed living uncertain times. People are worried about their future, worried about keeping their homes, worried about losing their jobs, worried about their children having a substantially inferior lifestyle to that which they have enjoyed.  Anyone who wishes to and appears to speak with authority can tap into this emotion that exists in most of us.

2.  Most of these people tell only one side of the story.  I can find as many financial experts who believe the economy is improving as those who think it is declining. It find “futurists” who believe the next decades will be the most prosperous and profitable in human history as well as those who believe that we are heading toward new Dark Ages.  Pick a position:  you can find somebody on the internet to back it up.

3.  Those who major on these themes usually profit from the fears they stoke.  How many of them are selling gold, survival kits, safe shelters, dehydrated food, guides to living in the woods alone with your family, etc., etc., etc?  My point is that these “prophets of doom” are seldom unbiased. 

4. It is not wrong to make reasonable preparations for possible future difficulties.  Scripture tells us that “the prudent man foreseeth the future and hideth himself.”  I think it is wise to have a reasonable amount of money in savings. (“There is treasure to be desired and oil in the dwelling of the wise; but a foolish man spendeth it up.”- Proverbs 21:20)  If you wish to keep a 100-lb. bag of beans in a dry spot in your basement, be my guest (I have no need of such investment since my wife coupons, stocks up and keeps two or three freezer/refrigerators full of food at all times. J)  However, an obsession with these supposed coming calamities can get our minds off God and divert energy and resources that should be invested in winning souls to Him.

5.  We have been there and done that before.  I am old enough to remember the bomb shelters that were being built during the Cold War. How certain many were that a nuclear holocaust would come to America.  So, we built our bomb-proof rooms with water and dehydrated food.  More recently, we can remember the awful catastrophe that was to begin January 1, 2000 (or was it 2001 . . . or 2002 . .  . or maybe it will be 2011 . . .).  Computers would not function, trucks couldn’t deliver food. Banks wouldn’t know how much money people had in their accounts.  Some of my friends filled their bathtubs with water, put jugs of water and boxes of canned food in the basement and prepared for a possible disaster.  I remember my wife asking me, “Honey, what will we do if it’s true?” 

“Well,” I said, “we can chop a hole in the ice on our pond, get some water out, boil it in the fireplace and survive.”  I said to our members at that time, “Do you really think the bank won’t know how much you owe on your mortgage January 1, 2000?  Do you really think they won’t know how much the balance is on your car note?  No.”   

It is true we are in difficult times. It may be true that we have worse times ahead.  It is also true that no one knows for sure what is going to happen.  By the way, the bomb shelters were effective.  No one who built one was killed in a nuclear explosion. But then, neither were the people who spent their money on something more profitable.  Take reasonable precautions.  Have some “oil and treasure” set aside.  Then remember that your life and future are in the hands of an all-powerful God who has promised never to leave you or forsake you.  Go to bed tired, wake up ready to serve and enjoy life .

For what it’s worth.

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