End of days? Plant an apple tree

BY Bill Reagan

I made my granddaughter cry last week. I made a comment about how it must be the end of the world. She heard me. She’s only seven. The end of the world scares her. Fortunately for me, Grandma went right to her to tell her that Grandpa doesn’t know what he’s talking about.

Have you wondered? Could it be the end times?

Three hurricanes. One, the most powerful ever observed in the Atlantic Ocean. An earthquake in Mexico more powerful than the 1985 killer. Korean missiles. Korean nuclear bombs. Constant chaos in Washington. All of it on every TV all day long.

There are many passages in the Bible about the end of days. Jesus Himself tells us that there will be an end to this world and to time as we now know them.

A whole lot of preachers make a pretty good living keeping people scared about the end times. Jehovah’s Witnesses knock on your door because they are afraid of what the end may mean. Some of the imagery found in the Bible is pretty fantastic and often frightening. No Hollywood special effect compares to some of the stuff found in the Book of Revelation.

So is it? The end times? I read the Bible a lot and I don’t know. Truth is – we know it will happen, but no one knows when.

This “knowing/not knowing” is part of the genius of the Christian faith. According to legend, Martin Luther, the sixteenth century theologian and reformer said, “Even if I knew that tomorrow the world would go to pieces, I would still plant an apple tree today.” Knowing and not knowing is the motivation for our work ethic. Jesus told His disciples to be ready because they did not know when He would return.

For believers these world calamities are both opportunities for service and sources of hope. Jesus’ return will not be posted on Facebook. Wolf Blitzer will not be break the news on CNN. When it happens you’ll know it. And you’ll be glad.

Meantime, plant an apple tree.

Bill Reagan is executive director of Loaves & Fishes of the Rio Grande Valley.