This year it's the Mayans...and Nostradamus...
...telling us that the world is going to end.Every generation has its doomsday prophets. For as long as time has existed, there have always been people who've believed the end of days was imminent.
And Christianity is no exception. From the days after Christ's resurrection until now, believers have been firmly convinced that the end of the world was to come in their lifetimes.The Apostle Paul was one of those Christians... We hear this conviction in his words from our second reading in 1 Corinthians.
His message to the believers in Corinth was this: time was short. The present order is passing away. Therefore, everyone's plans, everyone's concerns should be set aside-- and everyone should focus on readying themselves for what was soon to come. There was no reason to be bothered with marriage or grief or celebration or possessions... Christ was going to come any day, and none of these things would matter...It goes without saying that Paul was wrong about the timing of Christ's return. But there is still a great truth for us in his words...
This life, and the world as we know it right now-- will not last forever.And thank God for that. Thank God that our suffering isn’t permanent. Thank God that there one day will be no more poverty or evil. Thank God that a brighter future awaits us...
But that's the future…What concerns us most is the stuff of the here-and-now; the stuff that impacts our everyday life. We're concerned for our loved ones, for our jobs, for our health… In a presidential election year we're concerned about the economy; about healthcare and education; crime and wars; the environment. These concerns are part of life. We can't avoid them. And we're not wrong to have them. These are God’s concerns, too.
But the trouble is that this world gives us even more concerns.Just consider the advertisements you see on TV:
Smart phones with 4G wireless internet. Televisions with 500 channels. Cars you can talk to, that'll park themselves. Designer fashion labels. Gourmet restaurants. Luxury vacations.All of this advertising aims to address a need or a concern you have-- and if that need doesn't exist, they'll do whatever it takes to create it. So while you're already concerned about your children and your health and your career, you’ll now be concerned about owning "the next big thing" (whatever that may be). Once you’re convinced that you can’t live without it, you're next concern will be paying for it. So now you'll be even more concerned about your job and your finances. And once you buy that next big thing, you'll be concerned about it working properly; you’ll worry about breaking it or someone stealing it.
With wealth and every flashy treasure, creature comforts, and modern convenience come concerns. They cause us stress; they put the squeeze on our finances. And from the perspective of eternity, these things are absolutely meaningless...Now it’s not morally wrong if we have cable or if we own the latest trendy gadgets or take nice vacations.
We all want to live comfortably; we all want to have fun and enjoy ourselves. And we know life is short, so we all want to live life to its fullest.But is it all worth it?
God’s Word reminds us again, that the good life that our souls hunger for so greatly cannot be found in this world as we know it.When God’s promised future comes to fulfillment, it won’t matter if we had cable television; it won’t matter if we owned the next big thing.
The good life awaits us in eternity.And in Jesus Christ, that glorious future is ours. We don’t have to go through life worrying and being concerned whether or not we are saved. We are God’s ultimate concern—and Jesus gave his life as a sacrifice to give us the ever-lasting life we need. We’re already well on our way to our eternal home. So why should we lose our souls to gain a world that’s passing away?
Make no mistake; we still have to live in this world for as long as God has destined for us. But we do not have to live life on the world’s terms. God’s will for our lives is that we be as free from anxieties and worries and stress as we can possibly be. And we can spare ourselves tremendous stress and anxiety just by living simply. This is the virtue of living simply. Don’t sweat the small stuff. Don’t get caught up in the endless pursuit of the good life that will always be beyond your reach.The life that is truly worth living is one that is lived in anticipation of our ultimate reality. We are bound for eternal life by the grace and love of God in Jesus Christ—so if we’re going to concern ourselves with anything it all, our concerns ought to be God’s concerns, too.
God is concerned about human suffering and need—and God does not sit idly by while his people cry out in fear and agony. So when we reach out in love and care for our neighbors, we are not wasting our time. We are bearing witness to the healing grace of God at work in this world. And not only that, we are doing works of eternal significance. God is using us to do a good that will last forever.And remember that God is concerned about your needs—and the needs of those you love. God does not want you to be burdened with worries about what you will eat or what you will wear or where you will live. God invites you to leave these cares at the foot of the cross—with the assurance that God knows your every need and every fear.
God’s plan for your life in this world is that you live in peace; that you share God’s love with your neighbors; and that you experience God’s amazing grace and love as you await the life you have been promised. The simpler we live, the more of ourselves we can give to God, and devote to doing good thing that will last forever.So live simply. Serve your neighbor. Put your trust in God. Eternal life awaits you. Live for the future.