I was talking with someone the other day about Nostradamus’ prediction that the world is going to end on December 21, 2012. I have also been informed that the Mayan calendar ends on December 21st. Some people have determined that these two items alone provide sufficient grounds for them to get their houses in order for the end. It doesn’t matter that NASA has gone on record saying that life will go on just fine on and after December 21st. No collisions in the sky or changes in the universe signal that the end is upon us. I’ll go with NASA most any day, except if NASA were to predict that the stars are aligned for the Chicago Cubs to win the World Series next year. I have come to the point with my beloved Cubs that I say in Spring Training: “Wait ‘til next year.”
It’s amazing to me, though, that people will go to great lengths of stockpiling food and possibly ammunition for the end in view of Nostradamus and the Mayan calendar. I’m not sure what takes more faith—believing that the world will end on December 21st because of these “signs” or believing that the Cubs will win the whole thing next autumn because the stars are aligned. What I do know is that after December 21st has come and gone, most of us will not be making sufficient preparations for the end of our own lives. No wills. No “I love you” to our spouses or “I’m proud of you” to our kids, as we step out the door to go to work. Building bigger storehouses to stockpile the surplus of our wealth in order to kick back and enjoy life, we forget Jesus’ story of the rich fool who did the same. Jesus says that God says, “‘You fool! This very night your life will be demanded from you. Then who will get what you have prepared for yourself?’ This is how it will be with whoever stores up things for themselves but is not rich toward God.” (Luke 12:20-21) In the very next passage, Jesus tells his disciples to give to the poor because the kingdom of God has been given to them (Luke 12:32-34). Here he basically sets up a contrast between the rich fool—young or old—and the holy fool. Which kind of fool are we?
Whether or not we are stockpiling for the Apocalypse, storing up for a life of Acapulco leisure, or saving up to buy tickets for a Chicago Cubs World Series next year, do know that all other predictions ring hollow in view of Jesus’ words. You can count on it.
This piece is cross-posted at Patheos and The Institute for the Theology of Culture: New Wine, New Wineskins.
Dr. Paul Louis Metzger is the Founder and Director of The Institute for the Theology of Culture: New Wine, New Wineskins and Professor at Multnomah Biblical Seminary/Multnomah University. He is the author of numerous works, including Connecting Christ: How to Discuss Jesus in a World of Diverse Paths and Consuming Jesus: Beyond Race and Class Divisions in a Consumer Church. These volumes and his others can be found wherever fine books are sold.