Well, so far, the world has not ended today, the 21st of December, a date that the Mayan’s predicted thousands of years ago would be the end of the world. One quick Google search reveals that this prediction was similar to how many people predicted the world might end on December 31, 1999 with Y2K and we all know what happened there…nothing. But, another Google search will reveal that many people attempt to predict the end of the world, but to no avail. Now it seems that all that’s left are jokes about the apocalypse that never came. REM’s song It’s the End of the World is probably trending worldwide on Twitter, as I know I have seen many references to it. The popular saying “as if there’s no tomorrow” is making a number of appearances on my Facebook wall and Twitter feed.
With that said, I want to share something God really challenged me with this morning as I thought about the whole Mayan prediction as well as when the world does end. Every morning, I have to wake up between 3 and 4 AM to be at work so it is pretty quiet and easy for me to think. Basically, the thought that God impressed on my heart was this:
My world may not end today, but what about those men, women and children whose lives will end today? What about them? Does my heart hurt for them as God’s heart aches? Do I ache for them, knowing that thousands of people are going to die today without hearing the Gospel message and having a chance to come to know the Lord? Or what about all the slaves in the world today whose lives have already basically ended? Do I care about them? What am I doing to reach them? God has said that one sign of His return will be that everyone in the world will have had a chance to hear the Gospel. Also, am I living each day as if it really could be God’s return? Am I living each day as if I could be standing face to face before God at any moment?
These thoughts came rushing into my head today as I was beginning my day on the day the world was supposed to end…according to the Mayans. But now my head cannot shake the thought of those in the world who will face death and their world will end. Just thinking about everything that will happen in this world today pushes my heart to cry out all the more earnestly, come quickly Lord Jesus!!!! Babies who will never have a chance to experience the joys of life because of being aborted. Men, women and children who will have their very identity taken from them today through human trafficking and be pushed into the world of slavery never to be seen or heard from again by their loved ones.
Maybe this Christmas God wants me to be more mindful of what I can give and do for those who will not have anything special to do on Tuesday, December 25th. Maybe I can be thoughtful and prayerful of how I can reach my world for Christ so fewer people die without having heard the Gospel? Or maybe I can support a ministry whose goal is to bring justice to the world and help end slavery or sponsor a child in a poverty stricken country, etc. As followers of Christ, we are called to make a difference in the world. We are called to be salt and light. Salt cannot flavor anything without being in contact with it. A light cannot make a difference in a dark place by hiding. Are we going to be so caught up in what we get this Christmas that we forget to look at what we could give? Are we going to consider Acts 20:35, “It is more blessed to give than receive?” Imagine the difference Christians could make if we began looking at Christmas as a time to sacrificially give to those who have nothing. What would that instill in our children? What would that do to our families? To our church? To our community?
The struggle is that at Christmas, I want to see Ellie’s face light up when she opens a gift. I want to shower her with gifts because I am a dad and that is what every dad wants to do. But, do I want to see her face light up more when she experiences the joy of serving someone? Do I want to see the joy she gets from truly giving to someone who cannot give anything back? That experience will mean so much more in the long run because it does not fade like the allure of a new toy or video game or doll or shoes.
I am not saying that everyone is wrong in their celebration of Christmas because many people probably do more in the world at Christmas time then I have ever done. I am not telling everyone who reads this to completely get rid of giving gifts at Christmas. I am merely sharing how God challenged me this morning and how God has been working in my life lately. If this is something you have never thought of, but want more information, there are many different ministries/organizations you can look into who are financially responsible and worth investing in. Here are a few worth looking into: Freedom 4/24, International Justice Mission, World Help, and Compassion International.
Christmas can be a time where we can make a huge difference in the world, or it can be a time where we are so internally focused that we miss what it is all about. I pray that we are able to be ones who want to make a difference in the world and allow God to use us and impact the world for Him.